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Claridge's Juleps (£18 each)
There’s been a lot to depress us about the London hotel scene recently. Homophobes and boycotts. $127 drinks. Finding out that some of our favorite hotels have minimum spend policies. So when a luxury hotel in London steps up to the plate in terms of superb customer service, and reinforces our every hope about them, instead of dashing said hope into little pieces and then grinding it into the floor with a steel-capped heel, we should all rejoice. Put your hands together then, ladies and gents, for Claridge's.
Last Thursday, I went for drinks at Claridge’s with a friend. Drinks at Claridge’s has always seemed a little intimidating and out of budget for both of us, despite my having stayed there once, and both of us having watched the BBC documentary about Claridge’s more times than is good for us. It’s not your average after-work bar; it’s Claridge’s. Not only that, but there are two bars at Claridge’s: the normal one, and the tiny, sexy, marble-clad, gold-leafed, Lalique-glassed Fumoir that seats only 36, bans photos, and has a no reservations policy. That was the one we wanted.
I arrived first, and approached the Fumoir gingerly. Of course we have room, madam, said a man in a plum-colored velvet dinner jacket. Which table would you prefer? I picked the best table. He allowed me to do so. Score one to Claridge’s.
Is that our Facebook page you keep looking at?
Last week, we let you know that hotels want to text us. If that seemed a little intrusive to you, then look away now.
We've heard a few times recently that hotels are Googling you and checking out your social media profiles before your stay. Hmmm....on the one hand, we don't think that's too bad. The hotel is just trying to get a good idea of who we are, what we like and what we look like. Not every hotel can have a dedicated personal assistant so this is a good way to fill in that hole.
On the other hand,
most of the time sometimes we like the anonymity of hotels that provide. Sure, the front desk will always know our name and our address after we check-in as well as our room number but at least they won't know where we work, went to school, who our friends are or that we spent an hour watching One Direction videos on YouTube yesterday. (Um, for "research.")
Then again, this is the world we live in today--where anyone can find out a reasonable amount about your life with a few quick clicks. So if you're wary of hotels
stalking looking you up, then be careful about what you put out there.
What do you think--should hotels be researching who you are before your stay or should they just aim to be "pleasantly surprised" by you? Sound off in comments below!
Has anyone else noticed that all the latest customer service movements have revolved around decreased interaction with the staff? From self-service check in to the growing trend of text message services, one would assume that hotel goers would rather not interact directly with anyone from the hotel.
Marriott and Hilton, for example, have for sometime allowed guests to request their car from the valet via text. And now a few hotels are experimenting with mobile concierge programs that enable guests to text for housekeeping (extra pillows, towels, etc.) or even dinner reservations.
The main reason for the rise in text technology within hotels is that it
further addicts people to their smartphones saves a lot of time when compared to making a phone call, fosters relationship building between hotel staff and the guest.... hmm... well, maybe we had it right the first time.
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We've all had horror stories when it comes to staying in a hotel, especially if we just happened to forget something in the room. While some might think that their article is lost forever, that's not always the case. Here's a story in great customer service by a hotel, restoring our faith in not only hotel staff far and wide, but humankind on a whole. Prepare to have your heart warmed.
The whole situation went down when the Hurn family decided to spend their vacation at Florida's Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Upon returning home after a few days soaking up the sun, living in luxury and scoring some rest and relaxation, their 8-year old son realized he had left his stuffed toy giraffe, Joshie, back at the resort.
Like any good father would do to buy some time, Chris Hurn told his son that the toy needed some "extra vacation time and would be home soon". He then called the hotel with the hopes that Joshie was sitting in a lost-and-found box somewhere in the backroom. To much surprise, Ritz-Carlton's staff informed him that Joshie was safe and sound and offered to send the plush animal home free of charge.
According to a study conducted by J.D. Power, hotel guest satisfaction is the highest it's been in seven years after two years of declining scores.
The study was rather extensive, considering seven factors across seven segments, all of which saw increased satisfaction: reservation, check-in/check-out, guest room, food and beverage, hotel services, hotel facilities, and cost and fees in the luxury, upper upscale, upscale, midscale full service, midscale, economy/budget, upper extended stay, and extended stay markets.
What's impressive to us about these high scores is the fact that this spike has occurred in spite of steadily increasing rates. According to Forbes, hotel rates have rose 5% this year alone, and we know all about those pesky add-ons like resort fees. Interestingly enough, the study does not go into any particular reasons for the customer satisfaction increase. Rather, it rates properties individually across the aforementioned categories. The reason on a whole, it seems, is still somewhat of a mystery.
That said, it does bring up a few correlations from the data that seem to be associated with happy guests. For example, the study said that a guest's level of interaction with the hotel staff was directly tied to their satisfaction, finding that those who had four or more interactions were the most pleased about their stay. The study also goes out of its way to mention that an interaction with the check-in staff is not included in that number. It seems that, despite this contributor's best effort to advocate for face-to-face check in, people are getting along just fine without it.
In a move that would greatly empower the consumer, the Russian Ministry of Culture is attempting to pass legislation that would create a standard of hotel service and give guests a legal path of recourse should the expectations of their stay not be satisfied. It is, without a doubt, one of the most direct and outright attempts at putting the power back in the hands of the paying customer.
According to reports, guests would have options under the new law when they encounter a problem with a hotel's service:
1) Guests can request that their problems be resolved and the property would be allotted one hour to do so.
We know better than anyone that hotel guests love to vent about the good and bad after a hotel stay—whether it’s on TripAdvisor or Twitter or right here on HotelChatter. But the ease of airing one’s complaints these days has many hotels scrambling to address the quality of their customer service. GuestRights is a new membership program that can help them. And of course, us, the guests.
Anchoring the whole thing is The Guest Bill of Rights, a list of ten customer service principles that all GuestRights member hotels must agree to uphold. As you can see from the first five here, the rights are all pretty standard and should be no stretch for the committed hotel. You can see the full list here.