This past weekend I took a trip up to Maine to attend a family reunion. I’m a big fan of Hampton Inn because you can find them in a lot of the smaller cities I tend to go to. The rooms are always nice, and you get free breakfast in the morning (nom nom). This particular property was brand new. You could still smell the paint in the hallways! I’m pretty sure I was the first person to sleep in this particular room. Hampton Inn always exceeds my expectations and in return I have been a loyal customer throughout the years.
I noticed a rare misstep as I was checking out yesterday and I thought I would share the experience and tell you where I feel they went wrong…
As I was waiting in line I overheard a discussion between one of the women working behind the desk and the hotel manager. A customer had apparently booked a room online through Expedia and was calling to confirm their reservations. The woman behind the desk had informed the customer that although their reservations were not showing up in their system she would honor the Expedia pricing and talk to her manager about making sure it was taken care of. Fantastic right? This is where it all goes wrong. The manager proceeded to instruct the front desk agent that they were no longer accepting Expedia reservations because the price Expedia was paying them was” just ridiculous.” Furthermore, she told her not to worry about returning the guests call because they would “call back on their own” (WHAT?!?!) and that if they did call, not to honor the price. (what!?)
Why they wouldn’t just explain to the customer that, although they were no longer accepting Expedia reservations, their business was so important they would honor the price and reservation is puzzling. Maybe Hampton Inn would have made less money on the reservation, but they potentially would have obtained a new customer and the outstanding customer service would have built loyalty. The issue is clearly between Hampton Inn and Expedia, however, the customer is the one paying the price. It also teaches this particular staff member that the customer just isn’t that important. Even in peak times, most hotels only enjoy a 75-80% average occupancy rate. They likely could have easily given this guest a one-time deal and made money off of it. And lastly, why have this conversation in the lobby in earshot of their customers?
Our mantra at Xecunet is that our most important product is customer service. This is something that is repeatedly said in staff meetings, staff correspondence and during training. We have always felt that the key to building our business and creating customer loyalty is by focusing on customer service before and after the sale. Our ability to thrive through two recessions and nearly 15 years of business shows our philosophy works.