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September 6, 2018

Have Hotels Lost Their Customer Experience?

On a recent road trip vacation spanning 11 days, I stayed in multiple hotel locations. I often arrived at my destination late after a long day of driving, so as you can imagine relaxation was at the forefront of my mind. I typically book averaged price hotels in advance that offer breakfast in the morning. Unfortunately the lack of concern hotels have for their guests became immediately evident from the first night.

The first hotel stay was definitely missing the WOW factor. The front desk agent was distracted and less than pleasant. The cleanliness of the room was lacking and outdated. The room was handicap accessible (which I did not request), taking a shower became a challenge as water flooded the whole bathroom floor during every shower, leaving this very unsafe for anyone and even more for a handicapped guest. There was very little parking upon arrival which would also be a concern for a handicap individual in this particular room. The following morning, I decided to skip breakfast as the area was unsanitary and dirty. This hotel was more than $170 per night- hardly worth the cost for this poor experience.

The hotel the following night was much better to my relief and the price was actually more affordable. The front desk was friendly, room was clean and breakfast was great. I would definitely stay there again since they seem to understand the importance of giving quality customer experiences.

After the first two nights we never knew what to expect on our next stop. I love being on vacation however who likes to have an uncomfortable feeling in a hotel. It ruins the whole fun and excitement…

The next few nights I stayed at a Navy Lodge where my grandson was stationed. This hotel was clean and well maintained. Staff was friendly and professional. You could definitely tell this was on a military base and that they cared about the family’s experience while they were visiting.

My last stop was Las Vegas where I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express off the strip. The hotel was under construction which was never noted on the reservation. Upon entry there was no front desk except a little table and chair sitting in the breakfast area, assuming this was just the case during construction. Again the front desk staff was less than pleasant and I waited almost 20 minutes to get room. Since hotel was construction there was dust everywhere. Once again I was given a handicapped room where the shower flooded the floor. I did ask to change rooms due to this and was told there were no other rooms available which was puzzling since there were very few cars in parking lot. This 2-night stay was definitely lacking the WOW customer experience as well. The breakfast was good, however was located in the middle of the construction zone. After spending the day out I returned to my room which had never been cleaned. I contacted the front desk agent to ask why room wasn’t clean and he said that was due to the fact that we left after 9 am? I had never heard this before and I can’t imagine that every guest leaves the hotel before 9 am so that housekeeping can complete their cleaning by then?

close up of the sign on door handle

The majority of my stay I noticed a lack of customer service and overall lack of concern by staff for hotel guests. Many years ago when I worked in the hospitality industry in various hotels, our #1 focus was making sure our guests had an ultimate experience with us from the minute the arrived until they checked out. Have hotels lost this focus? At a rate of $150-$200/night for average hotels, it seems prices have increased and customer experience has decreased, which is frustrating to guests when they travel. Keep in mind, the number of hotels has increased as well in major areas, which means customers have a choice and they don’t have to return to your hotel if they aren’t treated properly.

Everyone loves to go on vacation however when you have bad experiences it definitely frustrating. I did send online feedback for all hotels. The first hotel’s response was we thank you for the feedback! That was it. The Holiday Inn Express did respond and did offer a rewards card to re-earn my business. I appreciate that they were interested in my feedback and invited me to return.

Do you offer feedback to hotels when you have a poor experience? Do you appreciate response and some sort of compensation to re-earn your business? Does this motivate you to return to that establishment because you felt taken care of?

If you are a hotel general manager or owner that wants more referrals and return guests, contact Debbie at The Hart Experience, 602.717.3271 Debbie@thehartexperience.com www.thehartexperience.com Let me show you how enhance your customer experiences and bring customers back.

We at The Hart Experience love to see your comments and feedback…

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