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Old Aug 2, 12, 12:46 pm   #1
 
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When Mr. Marriott's Office Agrees Customer Service is Poor and Can't Help...

Looking for a bit of advice here. I apologize for the long missive...

My family and I recenty completed a 5 night stay at the Fairfield Inn in Olive Branch, MS. The entire stay was a customer service nightmare. We had an dispute over the room rate as soon as we arrived to which the general manager of the property refused to speak with my wife or me. This prompted a call to Marriott customer care who suggested that because of the franchised-nature of Fairfield Inns that I needed to go through the appropriate channels for customer service including speaking with the the general manager first. Which on the second request on the second day of our stay, was refused twice (again) by the front desk clerk.

Secondly, we were travelling with a youth baseball team. Keep in mind this is a property that has soccer and baseball practice fields on site, advertises their proximity to major sports complexes on their website and had asked to be included in the official hotels of a large baseball tournament my son's team was playing in nearby. Yet, on check in we were provided with a list of do's and do nots and the entire time we were at the hotel, the staff treated the parents and children like third-class citizens who had no right to be staying at the property.

At this point, I'm getting extremely upset at the property. I finally get to speak with the general manager, on the phone not in person, and she tells me that the Fairfield satisfaction guarantee does not apply to me because, in her opinion, I entered my stay at her property with a negative attitude about the stay which is utterly untrue. I go back through Marriott customer care and am told that the hotel is not responding to their requests to address this situation and it is being escalated to Mr. Marriott's office for resolution.

I speak with Mr. Marriott's office and am told that the way my family and the other families in our group were treated is absolutely not in accord with Marriott values and they will be taking the issues up with the general manager at the property and that they WILL get the issue resolved. Two days ago, I get a call back from Mr. Marriott's office telling me that although they are sorry for the problems I had and agree that action needed to be taken that the property GM refused to adjust our rate, etc. and the best they can do is to issue Marriott points equivalent to one night's stay in a property such as this Fairfield Inn.

As a frequent business traveller who stays in hotels a significant number of nights per year, I have NEVER been treated to or talked to in the way this property dealt with our team and parents. Likewise, in 60+ hotel nights already this year, I have had only one other complaint to a hotel so I am not a frequent whiner or a 'do you know who I am type person'. I'm appealing to those of you who stay with Marriott more often to see if this sounds like appropriate compensation for the problems we had and if there are other avenues open to us at this point? Furthermore, does anyone happen to know who the franchise owner/property manager for the Fairfield Inn in Olive Branch, MS would be and have contact information for them? (Although it's printed on a plaque in the hotel lobby, I've lost my paper with the information and the hotel refuses to tell me who their operator is when I call)

Thanks in advance!
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Old Aug 2, 12, 1:02 pm   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BHMFlier View Post
Looking for a bit of advice here. I apologize for the long missive...

My family and I recenty completed a 5 night stay at the Fairfield Inn in Olive Branch, MS. The entire stay was a customer service nightmare. We had an dispute over the room rate as soon as we arrived to which the general manager of the property refused to speak with my wife or me. This prompted a call to Marriott customer care who suggested that because of the franchised-nature of Fairfield Inns that I needed to go through the appropriate channels for customer service including speaking with the the general manager first. Which on the second request on the second day of our stay, was refused twice (again) by the front desk clerk.

Secondly, we were travelling with a youth baseball team. Keep in mind this is a property that has soccer and baseball practice fields on site, advertises their proximity to major sports complexes on their website and had asked to be included in the official hotels of a large baseball tournament my son's team was playing in nearby. Yet, on check in we were provided with a list of do's and do nots and the entire time we were at the hotel, the staff treated the parents and children like third-class citizens who had no right to be staying at the property.

At this point, I'm getting extremely upset at the property. I finally get to speak with the general manager, on the phone not in person, and she tells me that the Fairfield satisfaction guarantee does not apply to me because, in her opinion, I entered my stay at her property with a negative attitude about the stay which is utterly untrue. I go back through Marriott customer care and am told that the hotel is not responding to their requests to address this situation and it is being escalated to Mr. Marriott's office for resolution.

I speak with Mr. Marriott's office and am told that the way my family and the other families in our group were treated is absolutely not in accord with Marriott values and they will be taking the issues up with the general manager at the property and that they WILL get the issue resolved. Two days ago, I get a call back from Mr. Marriott's office telling me that although they are sorry for the problems I had and agree that action needed to be taken that the property GM refused to adjust our rate, etc. and the best they can do is to issue Marriott points equivalent to one night's stay in a property such as this Fairfield Inn.

As a frequent business traveller who stays in hotels a significant number of nights per year, I have NEVER been treated to or talked to in the way this property dealt with our team and parents. Likewise, in 60+ hotel nights already this year, I have had only one other complaint to a hotel so I am not a frequent whiner or a 'do you know who I am type person'. I'm appealing to those of you who stay with Marriott more often to see if this sounds like appropriate compensation for the problems we had and if there are other avenues open to us at this point? Furthermore, does anyone happen to know who the franchise owner/property manager for the Fairfield Inn in Olive Branch, MS would be and have contact information for them? (Although it's printed on a plaque in the hotel lobby, I've lost my paper with the information and the hotel refuses to tell me who their operator is when I call)

Thanks in advance!
Another avenue to try would be to ask Marriott Customer Care to give you the name of the person in charge of franchise operations from Marriott's perspective. That would be something to consider. Every hotel chain that franchises out has someone in charge of franchise operations or owner relations.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 1:36 pm   #3
 
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i have checked in a few marriott properties that had handouts (and postings) for do and donts when kids were a major component of the population - doesnt bother me.

the hotel isnt crazy - they know where the hotel is and who stays there (teams) - but they also dont want it to get out of control - which is pretty easy. just because they advertise their proximity doesnt mean that is why they built the hotel there or that it is ok to be a clubhouse. The other 9 months out of the year it is business people i would imagine

i have also been with AAU BBall teams (my daughter played) and I know what goes on in hotels with tons of kids - slamming doors, running around. the breakfast buffet disappearing in 5 minutes- sometimes a little, sometimes alot

all that being said, the manager should address your concerns in person. was there a specific incident that prompted your (their attitude) finding the GM? did you have a copy of the rez confirming the rate?
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Old Aug 2, 12, 2:06 pm   #4
 
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More questions about the initial dispute which seem to set the events into motion. Did you have a confirmation number that (presumably) correlated to a specific rate? I've never seen a rate refused unless someone didn't have proper ID corresponding to a discount or something like that. Would you please go into more detail surrounding the rate dispute?
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Old Aug 2, 12, 2:54 pm   #5
 
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Yeah, I don't get why you checked in if you didn't agree with the rate. They are not the only hotel in Olive Branch. Now that you have made a good faith effort to contact the manager, what I do in such a dispute, is I take my copy of my reservation with the rate clearly marked, along with whatever evidence I have of my good faith attempt to communicate with Marriot (or whoever billed me wrongly, I'm not singling out Marriot here), such as copies of the emails acknowledging that you got poor service, and I would charge back the credit card. I don't know what else you can do. It's a PITA, and I usually have to mail all of my evidence certified mail, with proof of delivery, and sometimes I have to mail my chargebacks in two or three times, but eventually the credit card company will take action.

But I don't understand how it gets to this point. Nor have I experience anything quite like what you describe. Because, quite frankly, I don't think I have ever checked into a hotel that turned around and demanded a higher rate that they said in my reservation...I mean, I guess there are resort fees but not in Olive Branch!
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Old Aug 2, 12, 2:57 pm   #6
 
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Here's what happened with the rate dispute...

We booked a block of rooms through the sales manager at the hotel and were told at that point that the rate we were being provided was the absolute lowest available, period. She specifically stated that we could not get anything lower online EVER. There was another team in the same tournament staying at the hotel at the same time. Their nightly rate was $30/night lower. Some of our parents asked for the lower rate and had their rates adjusted. Others of us were unsuccessful and were met with not only rude behavior from the hotel staff but unprofessional behavior as well. The GM told me when I asked specifically about one mom whose rate was adjusted that "Mrs. ____ and I continue to go round and round on this and we're not through with that yet." Marriott Customer Care's response was: "if you're on a group contract and the property changes the rate for one guest, they should do it for all guests who are aware of the lower rate and ask for it." This was one of the issues where Mr. Marriott's office agrees but they too were told by the GM that they would not reverse the charges.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 2:59 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfred View Post
i have checked in a few marriott properties that had handouts (and postings) for do and donts when kids were a major component of the population - doesnt bother me.

the hotel isnt crazy - they know where the hotel is and who stays there (teams) - but they also dont want it to get out of control - which is pretty easy. just because they advertise their proximity doesnt mean that is why they built the hotel there or that it is ok to be a clubhouse. The other 9 months out of the year it is business people i would imagine

i have also been with AAU BBall teams (my daughter played) and I know what goes on in hotels with tons of kids - slamming doors, running around. the breakfast buffet disappearing in 5 minutes- sometimes a little, sometimes alot

all that being said, the manager should address your concerns in person. was there a specific incident that prompted your (their attitude) finding the GM? did you have a copy of the rez confirming the rate?
Trust me, as a business traveller, I can argue this point both ways. However, some of the things on their list were fairly offensive when you read them from a parent's perspective. I faxed the entire packet which included the 'group rules' to Marriott and was told by them that they agreed that the rules should be the rules. The rules for one group of people should not differ from the rules for everyone. The person I spoke with in Mr. Marriott's office added to this and said "if a businessman walks away with the linens, they're going to be charged and that is no different from a baseball team where linens disappear. The rules should be the same for everyone who checks into the property."
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Old Aug 2, 12, 3:31 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BHMFlier View Post
Here's what happened with the rate dispute...

We booked a block of rooms through the sales manager at the hotel and were told at that point that the rate we were being provided was the absolute lowest available, period. She specifically stated that we could not get anything lower online EVER. There was another team in the same tournament staying at the hotel at the same time. Their nightly rate was $30/night lower. Some of our parents asked for the lower rate and had their rates adjusted. Others of us were unsuccessful and were met with not only rude behavior from the hotel staff but unprofessional behavior as well. The GM told me when I asked specifically about one mom whose rate was adjusted that "Mrs. ____ and I continue to go round and round on this and we're not through with that yet." Marriott Customer Care's response was: "if you're on a group contract and the property changes the rate for one guest, they should do it for all guests who are aware of the lower rate and ask for it." This was one of the issues where Mr. Marriott's office agrees but they too were told by the GM that they would not reverse the charges.
I have properties we book 2,000+ nights a year at. Sometimes we see people with lower rates. When we do, we contact sales and see if something better is available. Sometimes their is a good reason for the rate difference, sometimes not. Sometimes we rework our contract, sometimes we don't. I would never dream of fighting for nights I had already to.

When you say "Your rate of $xxx/night is acceptable to me and I'm going to travel to your hotel and stay x nights" you should be prepared to pay $xxx. If sales later makes a deal for $yyy with someone else, you should have negotiated better. For all you know loads were lighter than anticipated so they tried to dump a bunch of rooms, but I see no grievance here since you were on a contracted rate.

If you are surprised that sales told you "this is the lowest rate, EVER" then I would highly suggest you withdraw from working on group rates. I've had rates drop 50%+ after being told this over and over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BHMFlier View Post
Trust me, as a business traveller, I can argue this point both ways. However, some of the things on their list were fairly offensive when you read them from a parent's perspective. I faxed the entire packet which included the 'group rules' to Marriott and was told by them that they agreed that the rules should be the rules. The rules for one group of people should not differ from the rules for everyone. The person I spoke with in Mr. Marriott's office added to this and said "if a businessman walks away with the linens, they're going to be charged and that is no different from a baseball team where linens disappear. The rules should be the same for everyone who checks into the property."
Such as? What specifically offended you in the rules?
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Old Aug 2, 12, 5:24 pm   #9
 
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OP,

One of the reasons you are getting so many questions is that you are being incredibly vague about what your problems were. Sometimes people think they are explaining things well, but they already know all the particulars. To others the vagueness may seem like you're trying to tap-dance around nit-picking issues. Not saying that is what you're doing, but I can see readers thinking that. Just spill all the details...
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Old Aug 2, 12, 6:17 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by dd992emo View Post
OP,

One of the reasons you are getting so many questions is that you are being incredibly vague about what your problems were. Sometimes people think they are explaining things well, but they already know all the particulars. To others the vagueness may seem like you're trying to tap-dance around nit-picking issues. Not saying that is what you're doing, but I can see readers thinking that. Just spill all the details...
I think I have a grasp on the situation. I think the OP was more upset that the sales manager told him his group's rate was the lowest it can go but then he found a similar group in house with a lower rate than his. Also, some members of his group were able to get their rate to match the other group but they wouldn't do it for everyone. The fact that the GM wouldn't discuss it is ridiculous.

I think the real problem here is that the other group (the one with the lower rate) should not have said anything about their rate but that's another argument for another day.

OP, as a business traveler, surely you know that every business has different rates, some may be less than your corporate rate, some may be more. If you found out that someone else's corporate rate was lower, were you going to the FD and complain about it and have them lower your rate despite the fact it was negotiated by your business? Once you sign a contract stating my rate is such and such for this amount of rooms that is it. You really can't fault the hotel for not budging.
However, once they decided to do it for 1 person, they must do it for all, otherwise where is the fairness?
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Old Aug 2, 12, 6:54 pm   #11
 
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I agree with the last few posts. While I empathize that it's annoying to have others pay less for the same service (or room), it happens every day. I am typing this at 30,000 feet and I have no idea what the guy next to me paid for his ticket.

Very large companies sometimes demand (from our business) "most favorite client" status with a specific contractual guarantee that their rate will always be adjusted downward if necessary to preserve their lowest rate. We (obviously) resist that and agree only if it's in a very narrow box (the lowest rate for a company that specifically does XXX or YYY).

There's no way that a Fairfield Inn would have any reason to contractually guarantee to a visiting kids baseball team that they would have that status. As the previous poster said, if you agreed to a rate that was satisfactory, you shouldn't sweat that someone else might have paid less.

Despite the "promises/guarantees" of the sales person, did you try to do an LNF or look online for cheaper rates?

I'm sympathetic but it doesn't sound exactly as initially described.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 7:10 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BHMFlier View Post
Here's what happened with the rate dispute...

We booked a block of rooms through the sales manager at the hotel and were told at that point that the rate we were being provided was the absolute lowest available, period. She specifically stated that we could not get anything lower online EVER. There was another team in the same tournament staying at the hotel at the same time. Their nightly rate was $30/night lower. Some of our parents asked for the lower rate and had their rates adjusted. Others of us were unsuccessful and were met with not only rude behavior from the hotel staff but unprofessional behavior as well. The GM told me when I asked specifically about one mom whose rate was adjusted that "Mrs. ____ and I continue to go round and round on this and we're not through with that yet." Marriott Customer Care's response was: "if you're on a group contract and the property changes the rate for one guest, they should do it for all guests who are aware of the lower rate and ask for it." This was one of the issues where Mr. Marriott's office agrees but they too were told by the GM that they would not reverse the charges.
Did you know the members/parents of the other team? Sounds like you knew what their lower rate was before you even checked in? I guess I'm just confused as to how you even found out about their rate.

However, the GM refusing to speak with you is obviously unacceptable.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 8:03 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by billycwhatup View Post
I agree with the last few posts. While I empathize that it's annoying to have others pay less for the same service (or room), it happens every day. I am typing this at 30,000 feet and I have no idea what the guy next to me paid for his ticket.

Very large companies sometimes demand (from our business) "most favorite client" status with a specific contractual guarantee that their rate will always be adjusted downward if necessary to preserve their lowest rate. We (obviously) resist that and agree only if it's in a very narrow box (the lowest rate for a company that specifically does XXX or YYY).

There's no way that a Fairfield Inn would have any reason to contractually guarantee to a visiting kids baseball team that they would have that status. As the previous poster said, if you agreed to a rate that was satisfactory, you shouldn't sweat that someone else might have paid less.

Despite the "promises/guarantees" of the sales person, did you try to do an LNF or look online for cheaper rates?

I'm sympathetic but it doesn't sound exactly as initially described.
Totally agree! As a business traveller, I recognize that many others staying in a busy hotel may have different rates. My frustration comes from the fact that we negotiated a contract rate and the hotel adjusted the rate for some parents and not all of them. Marriott Customer Care agreed that this was wrong and that the hotel should have adjusted the rates for any parent that had asked and not for a select few. However, Mr. Marriott's office was very clear that these are franchise properties and they can not force them to adjust anything, they can only make heavy-handed recommendations.

That said, they did today provide me with the name of the ownership group and I have made some very initial inroads in reaching the person who would ultimately oversee these types of issues. Hopefully there will be resolution yet!
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Old Aug 2, 12, 8:04 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by peachfront View Post
They are not the only hotel in Olive Branch.
This was during a huge baseball tournament where there was not an open hotel room anywhere on the south side of Memphis and most of the hotels in this area had been booked solid for months.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 8:09 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by GoPhils View Post
Did you know the members/parents of the other team? Sounds like you knew what their lower rate was before you even checked in? I guess I'm just confused as to how you even found out about their rate.

However, the GM refusing to speak with you is obviously unacceptable.
No, we didn't know the other parents prior to check in. We were all arriving at the same time and parents began comparing notes about our teams and our early tournament opponents and apparently somewhere along the way the discussion turned to hotel rates and the realization that there was a $30/night difference in rates. Personally, to me, this is a minor dollar figure to argue about. However, we have families on this team that scrape every penny together for their kids to play travel ball and the kids do fundraisers to pay for the vast majority of the travel they do. For some parents, $30/night is substantial and they were royally ticked off that the hotel would adjust a rate for some of the parents and not all who became aware of the lower rate and asked for it!
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