Here's an insider's view of how to respond to negative posts about a hotel, from a hotel perspective. While I doubt that every person who works in that industry does agree one thing everyone can agree on is that comments need to be taken seriously and responded to quickly.
Thanks, SteppingStones, for posting this -- I think it is really important to communicate effectively what has been lacking or wrong in a hotel stay based on one's expectations. We've all found our ways of doing this -- rightly or wrongly -- but I think the article you cite is key.
If you want a real response, it is important to be courteous while at the same standing your ground (always assuming you are on sure ground). I have seen so many cases, especially abroad, where people take out their frustrations by yelling. It solves nothing. By contrast, being nice but firm is far more likely to get the desired results, whether a change of room, points, extras expected, etc.
Thanks for posting this! The other thing I would add is that we as consumers should respect the staff at hotels and restaurants. Of course, if they are offensive, incompetent, or otherwise problematic that's one thing. But many of these people are working at minimum wage and dependent on tips; many more are beginning their careers in hotel or restaurant service. A kind word or two (or even a conversation) can go far both in terms of guaranteeing your own satisfaction with a stay/meal as well as adding to the learning curve of young employees.
Thank you Professor for the kind words.
I find that putting myself in the place of the service provider often changes the way in which an experience goes: an example was a person who waited on me daily at a Marriott in Santa Clara CA and I followed his finding out that he was to be a father, that the baby was healthy, that he shared the duties with his wife, etc. I was a virtual member of his family and he proudly showed me photos as the baby became a toddler.
In another case I sensed that the housekeeper who cleaned my room week after week was having problems with her health so I made sure that when I saw her I asked about it, then I mentioned it to the GM. As a result and without implicating me she got some housekeeping help from HR and at the same time never lost her feeling of independence and the spirit to serve.
So, yes, we all need to be civil and we need to be understanding, but never afraid to correct incorrect behavior or bad service. Having worked in minimum wage jobs as a teenager I appreciate the hard work that the folks who serve us do every day. I hope everyone will remember this as they encounter an associate who is not performing as they should.
Professor and Stepping Stones---
I couldn't agree with you more.
I believe it is more helpful - and more effective - to provide clear information to management about an anomaly in a calm, construcrtive manner - rather than "screaming" a complaint.
It's my repeated experience that hotel management is grateful to know of a problem that they may not have known about otherwise. No need to arrticulate idle threats. If there is a problem --- why not be part of the solution?
Thanks for your common sense!
Agreed on all accounts. However, I have never felt it was my responsibility to be a "watchdog" for the party that I am purchasing goods or services from. If my meal is not to my liking, or my lodging experience doesn't meet my expectations, I don't voice my disappointment, I simply don't return. It is their job to inspect and improve. Whatever happened to 'secret shoppers'? I believe my sole responsibility is to enjoy the services which I have paid for. I get fed up with the response "why didn't you tell me". It is their job to do some quality control, not mine. They are in the "service" business for pete's sake! And that is how I feel about that...
In the world of documentation you present facts for the following: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY, WHERE and HOW...and you write with a positive twist to a bad situation....thanks for posting this SS...great article!
Remember that "lemon"?, well I made lemonade...what would you do?
Articulate and accenuate the positive!
WOW, what a great post! I couldn't agree more! didn't even know I felt that way until you stated that! I work in a service industry and feel this is very true! You can't expect patrons to help you improve because they have other options. They get what they get and if they are not happy, they may lose a little money, But--- YOUR buisness suffers.--- with the amount of time you spend on a career it turns out to be your livelyhood as well.
Interesting discussion for sure, my thoughts run parallel to Shoeman. If service delivery doesn't meet up with expectations, rarely do I return. Nor, will I volunteer a word. However, if invited to provide feedback and it's convenient - I will. To that point, I agree fully with the importance of constructive criticism and being part of the solution.
In that spirit, excerpts from a recent article* about Intercontinental's marketing makeover seemed relevant to the comments posted at Marriott on the Move**. On June 20th Marriott announced that the company would discontinue selling weeks-based timeshare ownership in favor of a new points program completely distinct from Marriott Rewards.
What's relevant is the creation of silos w/in an organization that can paralyze and cripple service delivery. What's constructive is that IHG has merged the silos, a possible scenario that might apply to Marriott International and Marriott Vacation Club.
*Excerpts from IHG’s Ambitious Marketing Makeover
"International Hotels Group merged its relationship and distribution marketing groups to create a common voice and strategy across its customer channels. Over the past year the company has been busily evolving its marketing structure to align with the way customers conduct business today
The rise of social media and online travel booking have created an overall shift in customer behavior, and as a result, have forced IHG to change the constructs of its marketing. Choice and control on a huge ascent in terms of customers' attitudes toward buying. Answering the phone and quoting one rate doesn't work anymore.
In 2009 the organization embarked on an ambitious initiative to adapt to these changes. IHG merged its relationship marketing department, responsible for database marketing and one-to-one initiatives, with the distribution marketing department, which oversees the customer channels including voice, search, IHG's website, digital, social media, and the loyalty program (Priority Club).
Bringing the two departments together would break down the silos between departments and customer touchpoints and enable a step-change in the way the company can holistically integrate communications and customer initiatives.
** Providing Our Timeshare Owners with More Flexibility, Marriott on the Move