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Hotel Woes / Hotel News / Baha Mar Hotels / Hotel Delays / SLS Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Customer Service / → All Tags
Just last week, we posted a silver lining that emerged from the storm clouds of the epic opening fail of Baha Mar Resort & Casino in the Bahamas, which has been plagued by construction delays, thanks to a standoff between the resort and its construction company.
A Hyatt Gold Passport guest told HotelChatter that he was extremely impressed with Hyatt's customer service for affected guests of the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar, which involved a dedicated hotline for Hyatt guests and a full refund of all of his Passport points used to book the trip, plus a few extra.
This was pretty much the only positive report we've heard regarding Baha Mar in months. But today, we're back to the usual doom and gloom that has been hovering over the resort complex since they missed their (second) targeted opening date of March 27.
Tribune 242 is reporting that a bride and groom who were scheduled to have their wedding in June at the SLS at Baha Mar are now unable to get a refund nor answers to their many questions from SLS and Baha Mar. They are also trying to wrangle refunds for 100 of their guests, who had booked hotel rooms and flights to The Bahamas.
Apparently, the couple and their 100 guests were treated as one giant group, instead of individuals. Eventually, SLS offered the group a mixture of cash and credits for future stays, but the cash portion was not even enough to cover everyone's air fare. Now the groom, who himself is a builder of luxury homes in Houston and thus very familiar with construction projects and delays, said the experience has been such a nightmare that he will never return to the Bahamas again, "unless it was to see the ruins of Baha Mar."
And he's not alone.
Keep reading to hear yet another example of someone who was royally screwed over by Baha Mar.
Customer Service / Baha Mar Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Grand Hyatt Hotels / Hyatt Gold Passport / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
As the rumors continue to swirl about the troubled Baha Mar in The Bahamas (Travel Weekly is reporting it is unlikely the resort will open this year), we've discovered a silver lining. It is a very small one but it's something.
A guest, we'll call him Mr. Mister, booked a room at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar directly, using Hyatt Gold Passport Points, and wrote into HotelChatter about the "excellent customer service" he received from Hyatt, who contacted him when the opening date was missed. Hyatt also has a direct 800-number for Baha Mar guests who are affected. Here's how the experience went for Mr. Mister and what he was offered instead of his original stay:
I booked directly with Hyatt using points right before they increased the value of this hotel (still pre-opening).
The offer is apparently already being discussed on the internet, but there were three possibilities:
1) Be rebooked sometime in the future at the Hyatt Baha Mar (booking September and beyond) and cover change fees up to $300 per person
2) Book myself at Atlantis on my dime (and without my Hyatt Diamond benefits, including free breakfast) and get a free enough points to stay at a similar Hyatt in the future for the same number of nights (including Baha Mar or any Hyatt)
3) Receive a refund for my Hyatt Baha Mar stay (in my case, my points back) plus points for an equivalent number of nights at any similar Hyatt in the future plus a refund of change fees
I chose option 3--my points back to re-use elsewhere plus the compensation points (four more nights worth in my case), plus a change fee refund ($200 on American), primarily since our airline flights were almost all on points (only my ticket was paid/refunded/changed). So, I came out +4 Hyatt nights for sometime in the future anywhere.
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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.
Lost and Found / OpenThread / Customer Service / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Florida Hotels / Hotel Staff / Ritz Kids / Hotel News / → All Tags
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.