Tuesday November 7, 2006
I’m in Manchester, and I’m staying in a Hotel.
Having just finished checking in and paying for my stay, another guy approached the hotel reception. When he checked in, he was charged almost £10 less per night for the same four-night stay.
When I enquired, it turns out that we had both booked the hotel in advance by a similar time, and we both had the same extras (breakfast, Internet etc.). The only difference, I was informed, was that he had booked his stay through a third-party agency while I had approached the hotel direct.
I know this kind of thing happens all the time in the Hotel and Travel trade, but I still feel kind of short changed by the Hotel in question. After all, by approaching them directly I am pledging my loyalty to them (whereas approaching an agency would imply that I am happy to stay anywhere that is the cheapest), so shouldn’t I be guaranteed the best possible deal as repayment for my loyalty?
Even if this is being a little over-idealistic, shouldn’t the Hotel have at least tried to apologise and go someway to addressing my (obvious) disappointment? Maybe they aren’t interested in brand reputation, but I think that they, and us all, should be.
So, do you repay your customers for approaching you directly?
And even if you don’t (or can’t), do you have an olive branch you can throw them when they discover they aren’t getting the best deal as they had hoped?