Staying in Miami at the Springhill Suites Miami Health District is exciting enough, but we saw first hand what the Marriott Spirit means to a troubled bunch of travelers. Coming from Miami International last night were about 60 Chilean nationals whose airport was closed due to the terrible earthquake. The Lan Chile flight, scheduled from Miami to Santiago around midnight, was canceled and the travelers, coming home from vacation, were stranded and then sent to the Marriott as well as other hotels.
We came back from a dinner in Little Havana and found the lobby filled with people looking somewhat lost, all waiting to check in. All the associates speak Spanish, which was a help and comfort. I speak enough to be understood and pitched in, answering questions as best I could.
It was the associates at this hotel whose compassion and caring made a difference. This morning at breakfast the same people looked a tad but less hassled and while still concerned, a bit more willing to wait out the news of the airport's reopening, now scheduled for Wednesday.
The TV coverage included a phone conversation with the assistant manager of the Santiago Chile Marriott, whose conerns were for his associates and guests. It was a good moment for him and for Marriott.
We tend to concentrate on the amenities, ior lack thereof, at a hotel when in reality it is the staff, the associates, who make a place as fine as it is. The staff at this Marriott property deserve high marks for making a group of stranded travelers feel welcome in a stressful time.
Great post Stepping!! I agree 100% - its not the amenities, its how the staff makes you FEEL. My room could be piled high with slippers and lotions, and I would still feel unappreciated if the staff didn't make an effort to understand me and my concerns and do their best to accommodate them. The staff and the decisions they make at check-in set the whole tone for the stay.
In reading some recent posts: you mentioned you were downgraded from a concierge level room; another poster was asked to pay for an amenity received many times......these situations make the guest feel unappreciated and unwelcome. If the staff had made a different decision in these cases, the experiences of these loyal customers would have been more positive, leading to better business for Marriott.