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What benefit do front line staff get from not providing you benefits?

What benefit do front line staff get from not providing you benefits?

 
Old Feb 1, 07, 2:48 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: NYC - Boston - Caribbean
Programs: AA-gold, CO-gold, DL-GM, US-gold, HH-gold, SPG-plat, IC-plat, Hyatt-diamond
Posts: 7
Ask for a suite at check in -- then ask if it is possible to upgrade to it

#1 I really LOVE the fact that SPG (corporate AND general managers) are taking the time to post such valuable feedback - kudos to them, and one more reason they have an awesome product.

#2 I often walk up to reception, ask if they have a room available in the class that my frequent stay status allows me to upgrade to for free (suite, club level, etc.) -- the response is usually yes (as they are happy to sell a room at rack rate) -- and then I VERY diplomatically drop the bomb and say that I have a reservation, and would there be any problem upgrading me to the room they just mentioned (I find this works 95% of the time).

#3 I thoroughly enjoyed the book Hotel Babylon, it's a fun easy read and give a little bit of insight into the behind the scenes lives of employees at a London 5 star -- but Air Babylon was much more informative about the behind the scenes of air travel -- and just as fun to read.

#4 Courtesy goes a LONG way in getting the best service, and to be honest I don't have a problem w/ anyone holding back for irate and / or VERY rude customers -- just another example of everything I ever needed to learn I learned in Kindergarden.

#5 Lastly, I am going to stop asking for upgrades when I'm traveling solo -- you are all right that I don't need the extra space for my ego, but I do want it when I am traveling with family -- therefore hopefully what goes around comes around.
CarpeDiem is offline  
Old Feb 1, 07, 3:07 pm
  #32  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Programs: CO Plat - AW Plat - AA Gold - SPG Plat - HH Gold - HY Gold - WBR - Alpha Phi Omega - GO CANES!
Posts: 558
I have had a ton of bad experiences on this issue. After reading this thread, it appears to me that my flight timetable is the problem - I like to get to hotels at night, I guess after the suites are all gone.

The biggest offender I had was the Westin LAX, which confirmed the suite on the phone when I left and had given it away when I got there. This was MY hotel - I ran a LOT of nights here and the staff knew me. Additionally I explained to them that this suite that night was very important to me (has a hot tub) and I had a date Guess what, they cancelled my date.

When I got there they were completely uncooperative and wouldn't even comp me for parking or internet because the regular room on the regular floor was fine for me (or any other platinum).

I had literally 8 hours tops to be in LAX, then had to drive to a convention. While at the convention, obviously I am going to talk to clients about that problem. It caused me to do a major reevaluation of the company's spending.

The Westin LAX told me to get a house in LA. I did. I now no longer stand platinum. Next year I probably will not get gold. The apartment is cheaper than a week in the westin, I get free parking, and the apartment is nicer than any suite I have seen at the westin lax. I'll prob get a heavenly bed and laugh about the whole thing.

For starwood employees, please learn a lesson. If you screw over one of your regulars, what do you think they're going to do about it? You upset one even just a little, and you can cost your company tens of thousands of dollars a year. I went from a peak of 253 room nights in a year to what I expect this year to be roughly 50 tops between all chains. And I don't have to worry about housekeeping walking in on me in the shower, waking me up, slow overpriced internet, etc. My company was paying over $2000 a month in hotel alone to put me in LA to work. Now starwood gets ZERO of that. This trip alone (in LA right now) is 46 nights. That would be over $10,000 in spg pockets if they followed procedure.

I think the big winner of this whole thing is my company, who this month saved over $8000. My boss probably should thank that twit at the front desk who refused to call his manager.
suitcasejockey is offline  
Old Feb 1, 07, 3:07 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern California, USA
Programs: Most FF and hotel, i.e., spread too thin.
Posts: 142
Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker View Post
...
Contrary to the opinions held by some who participate here, we appreciate everyone being willing to give their point of view. It only helps us to get better in the long run.
Dear Lurker - I am pleased to see this constructive and helpful attitude.
RickR is offline  
Old Feb 1, 07, 4:11 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: All Over - Gathering No Moss
Programs: SPG Plat, HLT Honors, DL PLT but missing NWA terribly.
Posts: 435
Originally Posted by jmd4211 View Post
Harsh, but certainly a bit of common coursesy would never do you any harm...
I sincerely hope that you recognized the icon denotes sarcasm.
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Old Feb 1, 07, 4:39 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: ORD LAX HKG
Programs: Bonvoy LTT; HH Gold; Hyatt Globalist; IHG SpireAmb; UA2KMM; NationalEE; AvisPC; HertzPC
Posts: 633
Will the front desk personnel withhold the suite upgrade for a platinum member because the booking rate is so low and does not meet the hotel's "secret" minimum reserve rate for a suite? So they would rather wait and hope that someone is going to pay a higher price for the suite later in the evening.
ktjan is offline  
Old Feb 3, 07, 3:06 pm
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, Starwood Platinum, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Gold, UAL Executive Premier
Posts: 57
Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker View Post
I'm not James, and he is certainly welcome to elaborate on what complexities he has in mind further, but - from looking into these things in the past - here is my perspective:

1) the suite you are seeing online or are asking about from the Customer Contact Center may not be a standard suite.

2) the hotel's open sell status is set to allow over-booking and the suite that you and the Customer Contact Center are seeing really isn't available.

3) the smoking/bedding preference in your originally-booked reservation do not match those of an available suite.

4) the suite may not be available for your entire stay.

5) the suite may be legitimately in open sell status; however, at the time you arrive, it is not available for occupancy because another Platinum member exercised his option to stay until 4 PM.

There is not a doubt in my mind that some properties withhold the benefit for whatever reason and we always follow up on such instances when they occur and are reported to us, but 95% of the time I've reviewed the situation, it falls within the five previously-mentioned categories and this leads to a misperception of the circumstances.

Sincerely,


William R. Sanders
Customer Service Coordinator
Starwood Preferred Services

[email protected]
VL83 is offline  
Old Feb 3, 07, 3:17 pm
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, Starwood Platinum, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Gold, UAL Executive Premier
Posts: 57
Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker View Post
I'm not James, and he is certainly welcome to elaborate on what complexities he has in mind further, but - from looking into these things in the past - here is my perspective:

1) the suite you are seeing online or are asking about from the Customer Contact Center may not be a standard suite.

2) the hotel's open sell status is set to allow over-booking and the suite that you and the Customer Contact Center are seeing really isn't available.

3) the smoking/bedding preference in your originally-booked reservation do not match those of an available suite.

4) the suite may not be available for your entire stay.

5) the suite may be legitimately in open sell status; however, at the time you arrive, it is not available for occupancy because another Platinum member exercised his option to stay until 4 PM.

There is not a doubt in my mind that some properties withhold the benefit for whatever reason and we always follow up on such instances when they occur and are reported to us, but 95% of the time I've reviewed the situation, it falls within the five previously-mentioned categories and this leads to a misperception of the circumstances.

Sincerely,


William R. Sanders
Customer Service Coordinator
Starwood Preferred Services

[email protected]
VL83 is offline  
Old Feb 3, 07, 4:18 pm
  #38  
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: FLL -> Where The Boyars Are
Programs: AA EXP 1.7 M, Hilton Gold, Hertz 5*, AARP Sophomore, 14-time Croix de Candlestick
Posts: 18,669
Concerning William's 5 points in post #10 of this thread, I have no reason to doubt that what he is saying is very often the underlying cause of desk/upgrade (un)availability issues - my concern is why these reasons aren't communicated to the customer?

I feel that "bad news" is at least partially mitigated when it is accompanied by the reasons why the situation has come to pass - if one hears a rational explanation, it DOES help lessen the disappointment - and it provides the properly-trained desk associate with the ability to "save the day" with some kind of gesture to soften the feelings of frustration on the part of the customer.

Unfortunately, as long as hotel managements see and treat desk staff as disposable chattel, rather than the people who are the literal and figurative face of their brand, the bad experiences will likely continue.
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Old Feb 3, 07, 4:25 pm
  #39  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: 33,000 feet
Programs: aa exp and ck, spg plat, hz pc, dl life gld, marriott life plat, others
Posts: 553
If the situation is simply that the suite isn't an exact match against the smoking and bedding request, how much better would it be to say "well, we don't have a double bed suite but how about one with a king bed", than to tell me none are available and six seconds later my traveling companion with no status at all is given the damned suite.
eightmillionmiler is offline  
Old Feb 3, 07, 4:35 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, Starwood Platinum, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Gold, UAL Executive Premier
Posts: 57
Mr.Sanders responds in a manner one would expect from the Customer Service Coordinator at Starwood Preferred Services. But, as a Platinum SPG member since the program started, I know the lapses very often stem from factors much less benign than the five he listed, and that they occur more frequently than his 95% would indicate. (How often do we frequent travelers take the time to complain to his office about hotel inadequacies of the various sorts? Our time for other activities would be severely diminished.) It is my guess (and I claim no more than a guess) that a primary culprit in the inappropriate treatment of elite SPG member is the GM, his or her attitude and commitment, and the directions of training directed at the servers in the hotel. One basis of that thought is the fact that I have received upgrades to suites, on arrival and without any comment on my part, at hotels where there are unquestionably top GMs. These include the Luxury Collection stays in each of the following cities (in the order of memory): Helsinki, Athens, the island of Crete, Milan, San Sebastian, Madrid, Seville, Paris, Salzburg, Vienna, Venice, Rome, and Algarve. Most upgrades were to full suites, living room and bedroom. (In two of these cases, moreover, my stay was based on the use of points.) Three others occur to me where the same upgrading has occurred: the St. Regis in NYC, the Palace in SF, and the Arabella Sheraton in Cape Town (while not a Luxury Collection, one with many of its features). In only one Luxury Collection stay in Europe - in London - was I assigned to a very ordinary (or not quite up to the level of ordinary) room. In contrast, on other occasions, and at distinctly lesser hotels, I have received less than adequate, even shabby treatment. The most recent example comes to mind (of course). That was at the Westin in Long Beach, CA. I was assigned to a room that had badly scratched and damaged furniture. Now understand that I don't usually complain about a room assignment (not to the front desk and certainly not to Mr. Sanders), but this was in such poor shape that I considered it unliveable for even one night. Accordingly, I did return to the front desk, demanding better space not because of my elite status, but because of the shabbiness of that room. In response, I was assigned to an executive suite. As is evident, the general understanding we Plat members have is that, since the executive suite was available, it should have been given to me in the first place. Of course, hotels differ in the numbers of suites available: Four Points hotels can be expected to have fewer of them than hotels at the top of the scale, although I was assigned a full suite at the FP in Sydney and have been in a suite during each of my many stays at the FP at BWI. But shabby treatment is evident beyond the assignment of suites. Two relevant examples of the latter are the FP hotels at New Orleans airport and in DC. (Never will return to either of them.)
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Old Feb 3, 07, 9:46 pm
  #41  
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
Posts: 7,665
Originally Posted by VL83 View Post
Mr.Sanders responds in a manner one would expect from the Customer Service Coordinator at Starwood Preferred Services. But, as a Platinum SPG member since the program started, I know the lapses very often stem from factors much less benign than the five he listed, and that they occur more frequently than his 95% would indicate. (How often do we frequent travelers take the time to complain to his office about hotel inadequacies of the various sorts? Our time for other activities would be severely diminished.) It is my guess (and I claim no more than a guess) that a primary culprit in the inappropriate treatment of elite SPG member is the GM, his or her attitude and commitment, and the directions of training directed at the servers in the hotel. One basis of that thought is the fact that I have received upgrades to suites, on arrival and without any comment on my part, at hotels where there are unquestionably top GMs. These include the Luxury Collection stays in each of the following cities (in the order of memory): Helsinki, Athens, the island of Crete, Milan, San Sebastian, Madrid, Seville, Paris, Salzburg, Vienna, Venice, Rome, and Algarve. Most upgrades were to full suites, living room and bedroom. (In two of these cases, moreover, my stay was based on the use of points.) Three others occur to me where the same upgrading has occurred: the St. Regis in NYC, the Palace in SF, and the Arabella Sheraton in Cape Town (while not a Luxury Collection, one with many of its features). In only one Luxury Collection stay in Europe - in London - was I assigned to a very ordinary (or not quite up to the level of ordinary) room. In contrast, on other occasions, and at distinctly lesser hotels, I have received less than adequate, even shabby treatment. The most recent example comes to mind (of course). That was at the Westin in Long Beach, CA. I was assigned to a room that had badly scratched and damaged furniture. Now understand that I don't usually complain about a room assignment (not to the front desk and certainly not to Mr. Sanders), but this was in such poor shape that I considered it unliveable for even one night. Accordingly, I did return to the front desk, demanding better space not because of my elite status, but because of the shabbiness of that room. In response, I was assigned to an executive suite. As is evident, the general understanding we Plat members have is that, since the executive suite was available, it should have been given to me in the first place. Of course, hotels differ in the numbers of suites available: Four Points hotels can be expected to have fewer of them than hotels at the top of the scale, although I was assigned a full suite at the FP in Sydney and have been in a suite during each of my many stays at the FP at BWI. But shabby treatment is evident beyond the assignment of suites. Two relevant examples of the latter are the FP hotels at New Orleans airport and in DC. (Never will return to either of them.)
Ever heard of paragraphs?
If anyone else here is like me they stopped reading after the first two sentences.

mike
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Old Feb 3, 07, 10:23 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SMF
Programs: SPG LTP
Posts: 1,413
Originally Posted by MIKESILV View Post
Ever heard of paragraphs?
If anyone else here is like me they stopped reading after the first two sentences.

mike

Guilty.
Sam P. Goodman is offline  
Old Feb 3, 07, 10:46 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: MCO-The Mouse House
Programs: AA EXPlt, SPG Plt, Nat EE
Posts: 1,542
My biggest gripe is when I'm told that I "have been generously upgraded", I get all excited on the elevator and then open the door to EXACTLY what I booked. This seems to happen to me about 1/2 the time I don't get an upgrade.

Secondly, who trains them to say generously upgraded? Aren't upgrade a perk I get for being loyal enough to maintain Plt status? It's bad enough my wife makes me feel guilty for some of my trips, does the hotel have to do it too?
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Old Feb 4, 07, 9:49 am
  #44  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: 33,000 feet
Programs: aa exp and ck, spg plat, hz pc, dl life gld, marriott life plat, others
Posts: 553
I get that line as well -- now technically they might have two classes of some 'classic' room that are indistinguishable to the naked eye, but I get the feeling that it is just a line to avoid having to search for upgrades and to get me off their back. Just say that the guest was upgraded, even if the room is in the same category.

This underscores the reason there is so much resentment and lack of trust among SPG members -- the hotel business lacks transparency. The room categories are a mystery to guests. Rooms appear to be avialable to others that were denied as an upgrade. Rooms appear avialable for sale. Even when I say I will wait awhile for a nice upgrade, eliminating the 'not clean at this exact microsecond' excuse, generally the agent just wants to wrap up the transaction and get me into the room quickly.

If there were some kiosk or web site to look at the avialable rooms, including those that were not yet clean, even a way after the fact to see the category by room as a verification that an upgrade was indeed done, then the lingering suspicions that the hotel is not honoring the spirit and letter of the SPG program will go away.
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Old Feb 4, 07, 1:03 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Charlotte, NC USA
Programs: AA EXP; Marriott Lifetime / Annual Titanium; Massively Missing Starwood
Posts: 5,074
Originally Posted by MIKESILV View Post
Ever heard of paragraphs?
If anyone else here is like me they stopped reading after the first two sentences.

mike
I actually read the entire thing and take issue with some of it. As witnessed by myself on two stays at the Rome St. Regis and others here as well that property is among the worst at honoring benefits of the program by continually, over the course of at least two years, upgrading to 'the next best room' available at checkin as opposed to 'the best room available' at checkin. It is systemic, and such issues start at the top and are filtered down. It is not the desk agent that I find at fault, but the GM and whoever is above the GM.
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