Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Continuing The Continuing Saga Of The Hotel

I'm wondering where this'll all end.

As regular readers of the blog know I had a little run in with a certain hotel here in Adelaide on New Years Eve. No biggie except that it revealed the differences between what's considered to be 5 star service for the hospitality trade here and overseas. In a nutshell it's clear that here 5 stars has nothing at all to do with customer service, and going on the comments left by several people claiming to be connected with the hospitality trade here (some on management level) the claim that customer service is a dinosaur that needs to be not only extinct but totally forgotten isn't that far from the truth. Pretty much everyone within the hospitality trade has totally missed the point of the complaint and focused on the rule itself, not the changing of the rule or the treatment we got.

The last I heard from the hotel was via a letter that basically told me that the matter had been handed over to their solicitors. The hotel is very agitated that I went public with all of this - if I'd kept my feedback to an email then it all would have been dealt with quietly and rapidly (probably a simple letter/phone call saying, "Sorry you had a bad time, but hey - get over it") but nope, they want to push it further. And further it's about to be pushed. You see someone passed the links of this blog onto several media outlets late last week.

Over the weekend I fielded a number of phone calls from the media, all of whom wanted to jump on this and expose just how pathetic this whole thing has become. All of them were stunned about the magnitude of it all - we stayed, we got treated poorly, we complained, we posted a blog entry, the hotel are now threatening legal action - for what? For expressing an opinion? For reporting what happened?

Yep. That's it. The more I spoke with people the more they were confused. One conversation contained this exchange:
JOURNO: "What more is there to this? Did you urinate off the balcony? Did you trash the room? Did you have a punch-up in the place?"
ME: "Nope."
JOURNO: "Mate, you should have."
And this one, with a different reporter:
JOURNO: "You expressed an opinion. They can't do anything about that."
ME: "It's not different, to me anyway, if I watched your show and wrote on my blog that I thought it sucked and you're all a pack of wankers. I mean, what would you do then?"
JOURNO: "Nothing we can do. We'd just not read your blog anymore."
And another:
JOURNO: "You reported it, nothing they can do."
ME: "That's what I thought."
JOURNO: "Ahhhh f*ck 'em." There were more snippets of conversation, all gold really.

All of them agreed with the more saner approach - legal action in this case appears to be useless and that whole angle is kind of like a sledgehammer on an egg anyway. So where does this lead us? Later this week we'll be wheeled out before one of the current affairs television shows and will be giving our side of the story. I have no idea how it'll all be presented on the idiot box, but at least this'll be going national. I'm sure the emails, phone calls and letters will come in thick and fast after that and I wonder what the hotel's next step will be. I know what I'd be saying to them: guys, if you'd just called (and I don't count the call you made to tell me you'd gotten the letter and seen the blog, although I do note that a lot of the more negative comments on my blog appeared that very same day) this could have been worked out very easily. We didn't want a refund, or a free room, all we wanted was to pass on the feedback. Nothing more, nothing less. So what happens next is on their heads, not mine. And the funny thing is? I still like the place. It has great views and the room was excellent.

Colour me nervous. As soon as we're done with the TV stuff I'll post again with when and where it'll all appear, just for the sheer amusement value of all.

3 comments:

Zaphod Beeblebrox said...

I wonder who it was that passed the URL of the blog to the media. I need to know who I'm buying beers for ....

Retired Hospitality said...

Bravo!
Can't wait to see the response from the Industry. I'll bet it's full of idealism regarding the highest standards of guest satisfaction drek.
We used to hold briefings before big nights and shows, or VIP functions. The management would enter into a tirade on upholding the image of the company, and how important customer satisfaction was. It all sounded great and really revved up the staff for about an hour before the staff and management began to insult the guests, swap and marry bottles of wine to cut back the beverage cost so the profits would look better.
There's even an old trick of creating a beer bank with a keg of full strength at the start and finish and having light beer inbetween.
Honestly, the general public would be suprised at the klengths the industry goes to to save money and present a perfect glossy image, while they rot.
Now, I'll probably get bagged and attacked by the rest of the Industry, be called a liar and such, but they know that this is the truth.
Image is 90% of the battle. If the customer thinks everything looks great it'll usually colour over the negative experience, or so they hope.
Keep on fighting the crap. Maybe you'll wake up the industry.

Danny said...

At the moment we're actually filiming the peice for ACA. All fun and games so far.