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How Should Leading Hotels of the World Apologize for the 1928 Fiasco?

October 6, 2008 at 5:50 PM | by | Comments (4)

Poor Leading Hotels of the World.

As we covered breathlessly last week, they tried to do something nice for their birthday by attempting to release a limited number of hotel rooms for $19.28 apiece on Wednesday morning (in honor of their birth year, 1928) -- but instead they had some major technical meltdown due to the insane traffic on their website on the morning of the contest, everyone got very upset, and then they were going to hold a do-over but now they are kinda like, "er, um, TBD."

CEO Ted Teng has posted a personal letter apologizing to the promo participants and the cheap-room hopefuls. But to some particularly fired-up bloggers that's simply not good enough.

Blogger Alex Bainbridge demands some sort of video explanation from the CEO, similar to the David Neeleman JetBlue apology video of 2007.

Meanwhile, the Travel PR blog simply suggests LHW "get into some sort of continuous and authentic conversation with the market right now and on as many different fronts as possible."

Now, we're not sure of the technical aspects of this thing nor are we sure how we'd handle accidentally breaking a promise to 150,000+ people, but we do know for sure that our momma taught us to sincerely apologize whenever we made a mistake and then do whatever we could to make it right. This is a bit of an interesting case because, like, nobody has a right to a $19.28 room, really. It was a promo. The way we see it, the feeling was close to seeing a pair of very expensive, beautiful shoes in a window for 90% off, then walking into the store and finding that the store doesn't have our size. Things like this happen.

Plus, they apologized. Profusely. Shouldn't we all be more concerned about whether or not they are busy at LHW HQ trying to figure out a way to compensate everyone for their troubles rather than worry about the medium through which they deliver their apologies?

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

Comments (4)

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why do they care?

i'm amazed that leading has been as nice as they've been.  the people that typically stay at these hotels aren't the ones clamoring for a $19.28 a night rate.  it's schlubs like us that are gettin all cranky, because we generally don't drop 500 bucks a night on a hotel. i doubt they've alienated their actual customer base.

it's sorta like being the nerdy dude at school and you find out that the captain of the cheerleading squad wants to go to prom with you from several reliable sources, but then when you ask her it turns out she's going with rex, the quarterback of the football team. you can be sad, but it's not like you can really expect to take down the cheerleader when you're planning on wearing a pocket protector to the prom.


Having known Ted Teng, LHW's CEO, I know that he is not taking last week's technical difficulties lightly. Ted is the consummate professional and an industry veteran. He is surely embarrassed by his company's promotional failures, yet,  resolute in ensuring the confidence of his customers. You can be sure that LHW will do the following:

  1. Not let this happen again;

  2. Allow more customers to book the $19.28 rate when they are able to technically manage the promotion;

  3. Return to its preeminent status as one of the most well recognized and respected names in the business.


it's nice to see that leading has their interns monitoring the blogs to defend their fearless leader.

maybe he'll do at leading what he did when he was the COO for Wyndham back in the day - run it into the ground.


A video apology a la Jet Blue? That's ridiculous. There's a big difference between not being able to book an internet promotion due to technical issues and being stuck in an airport for days, in some case, or worse, being stuck in a plane on the tarmac for hours on end as lavs begin to back up and the flight crew runs out of snacks.

It seems like the bloggers are making WAY too big of an issue out of this. Technical difficulties happen; that's the cost of doing business in the 21st century. The best thing LHW can do is take whatever steps they need to fix the situation as quickly as possible.

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