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I was thinking back the other day about some of my more memorable hotel customer service moments. I don’t travel for work, so I don’t have as many stays as a true road warrior, but given the increased amount of travel our family has been doing since I started travel hacking, I’ve been to a few. I am typically a pretty low-maintenance hotel guest. I don’t need much housekeeping, and in fact we typically keep the do not disturb sign on throughout our stay. But looking back, I thought I’d share 7 of the customer service moments from different hotel stays. Good and bad, these are some of the hotels customer service moments that have stuck in my mind
“I could give you a room with something wrong with it”
Let’s start with the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at, which is without a doubt the Motel 6 in Mobile, Alabama. 3 of us were planning an early start in Southwest Alabama before setting off to set the world record for the fastest time to visit all 67 counties in Alabama. We booked a room at the Motel 6 for $34 from my friend’s apartment in Montgomery, then drove down to Mobile, arriving around 1 a.m. When we got there, the man at the front desk told us that he was out of rooms, and seemed unimpressed with our so-called “reservation”. When we pressed, he said he could sell us a room with (quote) “something wrong with it”. Having no real other options, we took it, which ended up to be purple goo completely covering the bathtub. Needless to say, nobody showered in the morning 🙂
Hotel city “tax” is annoying
I am not a fan of the hotel city “tax” which sometimes is presented as a tax and sometimes not actually collected.
(SEE ALSO: Hotel city tax: legitimate expense or extortion attempt?)
What especially irritates me is that it is typically not adequately disclosed on award stays. I hate the surprise that shows up at checkout when you’re expecting not to have to pay (because you redeemed an award) and then BOOM! extra money. A 4 Euro hotel city tax was a blemish on what was my favorite hotel we stayed at in Europe.
Another hotel city tax (and more)
I had a disappointing time at the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek. In addition to being charged hotel city tax again, I was not impressed with how the hotel handled the upgrade policy for Club Carlson Gold members. The hotel staff actually responded to my review, which makes it definitely one of my more memorable stays!
Above and beyond concierge service
Okay – enough talking about the bad, let’s talk about some GOOD memorable hotel customer service! While in Europe, we used one of my wife’s free nights from the Hyatt credit card to stay at the Hyatt Regency in Nice, France. While I am no longer a huge fan of staying at fancy hotels on free nights without status, we had some awesome service from the hotel concierge
In the morning, we weren’t entitled to breakfast (again, no status), so wanted to get something from a local boulangerie as we walked up to the train station to head into Monaco. Through a combination of her English, our (very limited) French, signs and pointing, she drew us a map to a great local boulangerie where we bought ourselves some breakfast and lunch for our trip.
Hotel customer service opens up the TV room
At an Econo Lodge in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, our family was not able to get adjoining rooms. That meant when we put the kids to bed (in both rooms), my wife and I were trapped and pretty much left to either going to bed with them, or hanging out in the lobby. This particular Econo Lodge had a super tiny lobby and the only TV was in the breakfast room.
As a native Clevelander, what I REALLY wanted was to watch Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but the TV / breakfast room was locked. The front desk agent was initially reluctant, but eventually opened it up and let me turn on the TV. The Cavs lost of course, spoiling this perfect moment! 🙂
Broken clock at the Hyatt House San Juan
I actually had a great stay at the Hyatt House San Juan (and it’s only a Category 2 so 8000 points / night!)
But one thing I remember about that was the clock in the exercise room was broken, and even though I reported it, 3 days later when we checked out nobody had bothered to put batteries in and/or replace the clock. Not a big deal but one of those things that has just stuck with me. Similar thing happened at the Hyatt Place Salt Lake City Airport with a mis-labeled stairwell (SEE ALSO: When a hotel can’t get the little things right)
Friendliest hotel customer service at the Holiday Inn Express Idaho Falls
In all of our stays, the friendliest hotel customer service came at the Holiday Inn Express in Idaho Falls on last summer’s Yellowstone / Mt. Rushmore trip. We were staying there on a Saturday night, and Sunday morning when we woke up, we were taking shifts down at breakfast while we were all getting ready for church
(SEE ALSO: Do you go to church while you’re on vacation? I do!)
The lady who was running the breakfast room downstairs was just SO friendly! She was interested in what we were doing, attentive to the kids, AND proactively offered to pack us up cinnamon rolls to go to eat for lunch / snack while we were in Yellowstone! Still remember that experience!
So those were 7 memorable hotel customer service experiences that I have had – what about you? What have been some of YOUR memorable hotel customer service stories (good or bad!)?
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