Why I’ll Never Stay at Your Hotel Again

Posted on: Apr 10, 2014

Categories: Millennial Perspective

hotelThere are few things that make me truly, terribly, steaming mad.

Bad customer service is one of them.

This is Caroline, Curtis’ marketing manager, and I had an experience this summer that I had to share with you.

I was on my honeymoon in Zurich, and my husband and I were staying at a Marriott on our rewards points. It was a category eight Marriott, and for those of you who don’t know what that is, it means that we were staying at a hotel we couldn’t afford in a million years if we weren’t Silver Level Rewards members with a lot of points to burn.

We were only there for two nights, but the second morning, after packing up and preparing to checkout and head to the train station, we decided to take advantage of the breakfast buffet.

The breakfast was perhaps a little nicer than your regular Marriott, but that was to be expected at a category eight hotel. We grabbed some eggs and toast and sat down to dine.

A waiter approached our table and asked for our room number, and I gave it to him, assuming he wanted to confirm that we were actually staying in the hotel and we hadn’t just walked in off the street.

After breakfast, we returned to our room, gathered our belongings, and went to the front desk to checkout.

We expected to swiped our card, deduct a few thousand Marriott points, and be on our way. We were instead horrified to learn that that simple breakfast had cost us 78 Swiss Francs (88 American dollars). The eager blonde behind the desk looked at us expectantly. Feeling embarrassed, we handed over our card, paid, and left.

I was furious. No one had informed us that the breakfast wasn’t free, as I’d come to expect in every other Marriott I’ve stayed in, and now it was going to be the most expensive meal of our honeymoon. And to be honest, the breakfast wasn’t even very good.

I put the issue on the backburner until we got home. Once back in America, we received an email from Marriott asking us to tell about our stay, so I wrote that they had lost my loyalty due to the unexpected fees.

I thought that would be the end of it, but a week later, I received an email from the manager of the hotel himself. He apologized profusely for the confusion, explained that he valued us as customers, and in a gesture of goodwill, credited the 78 Swiss Francs back to our account.

This manager had to know that the likelyhood of us returning to Zurich in the near future was slim, but he wasn’t reaching out to us to protect the reputation of his hotel — he was protecting the reputation of the Marriott brand.

After this experience, my husband and I will be life-long Marriott fans, never forgetting what they did to make our honeymoon special. Not just because the hotel was luxurious, but rather, because we now know that Marriott listens to feedback, it corrects its mistakes, and the managers personally care about our experience.

Good companies provide good products and services. Great companies cultivate great relationships with their customers.

Do you have an amazing customer service story to tell? Hit reply or comment below and share it!

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