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SPG Benefits/Recognition for Gold and Platinum Members at a specific hotel- Thoughts?

SPG Benefits/Recognition for Gold and Platinum Members at a specific hotel- Thoughts?

 
Old Aug 14, 09, 4:16 am
  #1  
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SPG Benefits/Recognition for Gold and Platinum Members at a specific hotel- Thoughts?

Firstly, I hope that its OK to start a thread like this here - I remember asking William quite a while back and he gave me the go-ahead, so here goes....

For those who haven't 'met' me on here before, I am a Front of House Manager at a Starwood Property, having recently transferred from another.

One of the big service challenges we face in my new hotel, from our Guest Satisfaction Index information, is the benefits on offer to our Gold and Platinum SPG members. This is one of the things I desperately want to improve upon, so I thought I would solicit some feedback here.

To give a bit of background, here, we have a Club Lounge to which Platinums obviously have access, and we have a fully open upgrade policy - nothing is out of bounds to SPG members. We do regularly welcome more Plats in a day than we have suites but we nearly always manage an upgrade of some description.

For Gold Members, again, we always try to upgrade, although we do not often have suites available, and we offer a complimentary drinks voucher for all Gold Arrivals.

So, my question is, when you receive and submit your post-stay surveys, when it comes to the questions relating to SPG Recognition/Benefits, what things do you have in mind that sometimes you do not receive?

Or, put simpler I suppose, what can we do to improve in this area?

Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions more than welcome.
jmd4211 is offline  
Old Aug 14, 09, 4:38 am
  #2  
 
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To be honest, if all hotels in the SPG program would follow your example I think we would all be quite happy. Just to get things straight in my mind: Is your hotel getting bad scores? Because it seems you are doing all that really should be done.

Most plats (including myself) are disappointed when they don't receive a nice upgrade, but it seems like your hotel is quite willing to do its best. The Park Lane Hotel in London had a nice idea of rewarding 500 SPG points when they didn't have an upgrade to a suite for me. Not sure, whether that was a perk for all platinum members or just for regulars.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 4:41 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by German-FLyer View Post
Just to get things straight in my mind: Is your hotel getting bad scores?
Not bad, per se, but definitely requiring improvement.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 6:39 am
  #4  
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jmd4211, my experience as an SPG Plat has been very good. I always fill out the cust sat surveys when received. While sometimes disappointed if I don't get a suite upgrade, it really comes down to the quality of the non-suite I received as to whether I'm unhappy. At some properties the regular rooms are so small that I do come away unhappy.

Without knowing what kind of property you work at, it is hard to really help you much. I expect different things from a 4 Points vs. a Le Meridien, for instance. The same goes for a property in Australia versus Asia.

Here are some of the things I expect and that make me feel special as a Plat and keep me happy, besides the suite upgrade.
  • Check-in
    • The property should have my room assignment ready and in the Plat key card jacket before I arrive. It makes things go faster and shows that they have thought about my stay beforehand.
    • I really dislike getting a key card with a "You've been upgraded" sticky on it unless I've been upgraded to a suite. If it is a club upgrade or executive floor upgrade but not a suite, then the sticky makes me feel like someone is trying to get one over on me.
    • If I've not been upgraded to a suite simply say, "I'm sorry, but we had no suites available this time".
    • If the room is not ready yet, invite me to a free soft drink/coffee in the bar/cafe.
    • I should be presented with the Amenity card and asked which Amenity I'd like.
    • I should receive an Instant Awards sheet with my name and current number of Starpoints on it.
    • Being escorted to my room is nice.
  • Room Arrival
    • Having a signed welcome letter on the desk addressed to me is nice.
    • At some properties they always have a complimentary bottle of wine waiting for me.
    • Some properties give special recognition of a 10th, 20th, etc stay. Recently a Hyatt gave me a bottle of wine, some chocolates and one of those bead-filled, aromatherapy eye covers to recognize my 40th stay. I know the SGS in BKK does things to recognize threshold stays.
    • Fresh fruit waiting in the room is a nice touch.
    • Delivery of complimentary tea, coffee or juice upon arrival is a great touch. The specific selection can be done at check-in, upon entering the room if escorting the guest, or by the bellhop when the luggage is brought up.
    • At one property the bellhops bring me that days newspaper about 50% of the time when bringing my bags.
  • During the stay
    • Being referred to by name is great, though sometimes it can feel a bit much.
    • A call to make sure that everything is going ok and to inquire if there is anything else that can be done to enhance my stay is always nice.
    • If I'm in the club/lounge, engage me. You'll be able to tell by my response/body language if I'm perhaps busy or not interested in being engaged, but try to talk to me about why I'm visiting the city, if I've seen this or that, etc. Recently during happy hour in the public bar of a property I was planning only to have a drink and the snacks. One of the staff engaged me about the property as it is new. Eventually we got to talking about food. She was telling me about how fabulous some of their dishes are and that I must try some of their special cocktails (which were complimentary anyway so it wasn't a sales pitch). I eventually ordered a few things and remember her fondly for her recommendations and her great personality. It enhanced the way I feel about the entire property.
  • Post stay
    • The single-most thing that will drive me nuts about a property is the points not posting in a timely manner. At 90% of the SPG properties i stay at the points are posted within 24 hours of the stay. At 10% it can take 2-3 weeks. This minor annoyance means I need to keep track and keep looking and is enough for me have second thoughts about staying at the property.
    • Ensure that the 500 point amenity is posted with the rest of the points.
    • I enjoy getting the post-stay surveys.
    • I like getting the "Glad you stayed with us" type emails but it drives me nuts that when you reply to them they go not to the GM whose name is on the email but rather to a black hole of CS which autoresponds that they'll not be reviewing your email.
    • Keep me updated with what is going on at your property. Recently a property I've stayed at a few times opened up some great recreational facilities. I only know about it because I happened to see that they have a Facebook page. Nothing about it on FT but more importantly nothing about it in my email inbox.

I hope this is helpful and that I don't sound like some kind of snob. These are the types of things which make me want to return to a property rather than just resigning myself to return due to price and location.

If as a Gold I was getting some of these things it would likely make me want to continue and work to get Plat. I know this happens with my colleagues when they see me and other colleagues who are Plats getting such great recognition.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 6:43 am
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I don't think it's always the rewards you get, but its nice to have someone "talk to you" when you check in and not say "I see your a platinum, thank you for staying with Starwood so much", like they are reading a press release or something. It's really really nice to have someone with a personality acknowledge your status and at least make us feel like we are "in the category". Also, I like not having to ask for an upgrade, have it done when I get there so I don't have to ask. The other thing I've found really nice is when they give me an extra amenity. A voucher for some free food AND some points goes a long way with me!

To summarize, I think with me anyways, it's the acknowledgement that you appreciate my money and you understand it's not easy to stay in a hotel that much. As with anything in life, a little empathy goes a really long way!
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Old Aug 14, 09, 7:06 am
  #6  
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A few months ago at a German Starwood property, the front desk associate acknowledged my Platinum status and talked briefly with her colleague who walked away and got back with the manager on duty. The manager stayed with me during the check in process and made sure everything was to my liking. She sincerely thanked me for choosing her hotel and we talked for about 10 minutes and she really made me feel welcome.

These are the sort of things I really enjoy and then if sometimes there isn't a suite available for upgrade and the manager come out to explain I know they have done everything to try to get one for me and would understand completely.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by yosithezet View Post
I hope this is helpful and that I don't sound like some kind of snob

Its more than helpful, thank you so much, and everyone else who has taken the time to answer.

My boss will be very impressed with 'my' ideas
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Old Aug 14, 09, 7:27 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by jmd4211 View Post
Its more than helpful, thank you so much, and everyone else who has taken the time to answer.

My boss will be very impressed with 'my' ideas
Surely you meant to say that your boss will be very impressed with the ingenuity shown in coming to FlyerTalk to gather information and solicit input as we all know a good manager would never attempt to take credit for ideas which weren't their own.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 7:38 am
  #9  
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Be careful with some of the suggestions, because what some people like, others do not. For example, nothing turns me off more than this:
Originally Posted by yosithezet View Post
A call to make sure that everything is going ok and to inquire if there is anything else that can be done to enhance my stay is always nice.
I find this type of call quite intrusive and annoying.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 8:11 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Be careful with some of the suggestions, because what some people like, others do not. For example, nothing turns me off more than this:

I find this type of call quite intrusive and annoying.
I agree. When I'm in public areas, walking from the restaurant at breakfast etc I don't mind the manager or whoever to ask how my stay is going, but don't call me up and telemarket to me.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 8:19 am
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The most bizarre experience was at W Seoul- where they wanted to take a picture of mine at check-in so that they can recognice me by face. And I was greeted by name several times in the hotel by staff..
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Old Aug 14, 09, 8:28 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by LonLH View Post
The most bizarre experience was at W Seoul- where they wanted to take a picture of mine at check-in so that they can recognice me by face. And I was greeted by name several times in the hotel by staff..
I've had that happen at a few hotels.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by schley View Post
I agree. When I'm in public areas, walking from the restaurant at breakfast etc I don't mind the manager or whoever to ask how my stay is going, but don't call me up and telemarket to me.
While I do generally prefer not to be bothered...I think there's a difference between a call to simply ask if everything is ok vs. one where there is clearly an agenda to drum up business. Also, please don't call me early in the morning...I hate that.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 9:14 am
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James you are to be congratulated for actively looking to get feedback to improve your business.

Let me give you another POV-one from someone who is abandoning Marriott because(amongst several reasons)of their decididing that their elite guest just are not important to their business.

Marriott has really poor training of its frontline personel.More often than not the FDR would not even call me by name let alone welcome me to the property and acknowledge my status/thank me for my business.This is HUGE for me.I know from that point that absolutely NO consideration will be given me from that property.

DON'T LIE TO ME!-sick of being placed in "the priceline room"and being told that nothing better is available when I see 20 cars in the parking lot and can go online to find much better rooms.

Instruct the FDRs on the processing of any and all sorts of payment/promotional programs going on so I don't have to.Marriott does not cut me a check for training their staff and yet I have had to do that often.

Instruct the housekeeping staff that a DND sign is just that.They should check with the front desk about a late check out if a guest still has his DND sign out past noon.Also instruct them to be quiet and considerate of guests while in the hallways.I am at your property to sleep-not to listen to them chattter.

If a FDR does not have the answer to a question make sure he is comfortable coming to you(or the MOD)to ask for an answer rather than make up something simply to get rid of the guest.

Finally-make sure every single member of the staff realize that their main job is to make the customer want to return to their property.Their job depends on pleasing customers in any way they can.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by yosithezet View Post
Surely you meant to say that your boss will be very impressed with the ingenuity shown in coming to FlyerTalk to gather information and solicit input as we all know a good manager would never attempt to take credit for ideas which weren't their own.
This is, of course, what I meant.


Last edited by jmd4211; Aug 14, 09 at 9:23 am
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