Confessions of A Hotel Executive

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Confessions of A Hotel Executive

JohnS43
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JohnS43
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08 Mar 2005, 04:31 #1

From Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, March 2005 issue.

Article title: "Confessions of A Hotel Executive"

" ... Guests should reserve directly. It's been said that we treat guests worse when they reserve through third-party Internet sites. It's no myth: Of course we treat them worse! Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, Orbitz, Hotels.com-- you name it we turn up our noses at them. At some websites, you put in a price and stay at whatever hotel comes up. You can't tell me that these people care about service! Can't! The way we look at it, these folks are solely concerned about price, and they probably can't differentiate good service from bad. People who reserve through third-party sites are the first clients we downgrade or relocate if rooms are oversold. Heck, we might even pull the sparkling water, cheese and crackers, and other nice amenities from their rooms. You might think that policies such as these are unspoken rules, but they're discussed openly during our staff meetings. On the other hand, guests who make reservations through our website or call center almost always have access to the lowest published rates. And when you book directly, it says that you picked us, and we'll treat you accordingly. ... "
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KeenWink
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08 Mar 2005, 06:39 #2

Thank you for posting this, JohnS43.

I think "confession" is a perfect term for what this purported executive is saying. A confession is, after all, "an admission of misdeeds or faults".

What this executive is saying is obviously the product of faulty thinking and cynicism. The very fact that Priceline (and Hotwire) depend upon the star-ratings is clear evidence that as buyers, we do care about quality. The very fact that we complain at being mistreated proves it. Any hotel that blithely goes about offering rooms on opaque channels and intentionally disenfranchises those guests is both shortsighted and foolish. It would be a better investment to let the rooms sit empty.

I don't mean to sound personally offended by the "confessions", but rather to express my disappointment that some management teams are still fostering contempt towards their guests. This faulty thinking is one reason some hotels (and other businesses for that matter) are finding they're losing their competitive edge. YOU NEVER KNOW when a loyal customer might be booking by an opaque system, and you risk alienating them permanently. It is a basic tenet of good business that all parties to a contract should benefit from the transaction--otherwise the relationship is parasitic rather than mutulalistic. The attitude one brings to business really does matter, because this, more than anything, will garner trust and loyalty.

Furthermore, once you establish a degree of contempt for one class of guests, it is ever-so easy for employees to start viewing all guests as "suckers" to be used, and abused, at will. Of course low-fare or low-rate customers will be 'walked' or given the basic accomodations; nobody should expect a first class ride for a coach ticket. But even "coach" guests are deserving of a standard of quality and service that meets the minimums for the class of business. The precept that Priceline guests deserve to be shortchanged is degrading to the hotel itself.

Manners are free, only a cad dispenses with them. And, perhaps, also a Hotel Exectutive who has no business holding such a position in the hospitality industry.
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JohnS43
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11 Mar 2005, 06:29 #3

Wow! Great response, KeenWink. I would strongly recommend that you consider incorporating that into some kind of letter to the editor of the magazine!
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MJRBIM
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12 Mar 2005, 01:50 #4

My answer to the Hotel Executive is quite simple, if you don't want to deal with PL guests...then don't load your rates for PriceLine or other Opaque sites into the system. I book upwards of 100 room nights per year, and I don't want your "Best Published Rates" - I want your BEST rates period. The same rates you offer to conventions, airline crews, etc...clients who I doubt you treat with the same indifference.

If I feel mistreated at your hotel, I can make sure that I don't bid that zone/star-rating again - and some other Hotel Executive can book the revenue for my stay.

On the otherhand, I you don't run 100% occupancy - and want the room revenue from PL guests - plus parking, room service, high-speed and everything else I add on during my usual stays - treat me the same as any of your other guests.

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cnmiranda27
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cnmiranda27
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12 Mar 2005, 21:37 #5

Ditto the above comments, I wish the hotel manager would tell what hotel he's working so we could avoid it. I bet this guy probably doesn't even travel outside his own back door.
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SlumLord7
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13 Mar 2005, 08:17 #6

You've hit the nail on the head.

I go out of my way to be *very* nice and polite when I arrive on a PL deal. I ignore any attitude when they sniff and say "I see this is Priceline" or "prepaid." It really doesnt bother me...but I think, If you truly can't be bothered with PL customers, then DONT contract with PL! You want to pretend you're so above us...yet you still want the revenue.

I go to my room with their "Best Published Rate" of $179, for example, and just laugh that I got it for $65.

Business is a transaction between 2 parties. Either is free NOT to do business with the other. Acrimony or attitude is unnecessary and silly.
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porkypineMUA
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24 Mar 2005, 16:04 #7

“But even "coach" guests are deserving of a standard of quality and service that meets the minimums for the class of business.”

KeenWink, you are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, I feel that the whole standard of customer service among hospitality industries across the board is low level for the standard customer and great only for those who pay more. How you treat your “lowest level” customer should be the BASELINE STANDARD and should be excellent. “Elite” customers should be getting service that is excellent PLUS.

I would like to make another point – there is such a thing as life cycle. My husband and I are in our early twenties and just starting out on our careers. We simply don’t have lots of money to spend on travel right now, but we still want to enjoy ourselves. We use Priceline to help us meet our needs at this time. My husband is an attorney – eventually our family will have a lot more money than we do now.

Meanwhile, our brand preferences are being formed right now. We have had many good stays at Marriott hotels via Priceline. While we are still mostly Priceline shoppers right now, eventually we will have the money to choose a hotel when we travel with less regard for price. I can tell you right now that so far we would choose Marriott first and Sheraton/Westin second because of the positive experiences we have had with both on Priceline stays. These hotels truly value EVERY customer.

Due to other experiences I have had with Marriott where they knocked themselves out to help me, I would be absolutely shocked if this executive worked for Marriott. He is incredibly short-sighted and obviously his business school education is not paying off for him since the brand life cycle concept is a BASIC TENET of b-school education. Good riddance.
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readymade
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26 Mar 2005, 02:33 #8

This guy must be the former front desk manager at the New York Hilton. It just takes one bad apple in management to create an atmosphere of disdain and snobber among a whole department.
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southbay
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26 Mar 2005, 06:28 #9

I really hope this type of comment by some deranged, so called Hotel Exec. is beleived by the general public!! So it leaves PRLN Invetory for us..
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NVherron
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02 Apr 2005, 00:09 #10

You're on the money Porcupine...and I'd take it even one step further.

Do you know how many times I have gone back to a hotel and paid a 'normal' rate after a great Priceline experience? Over a dozen. And I, having a big mouth, also healthily promote these hotels to people who are not using Priceline, also.

You make someone happy, one in ten will tell someone about it. Make someone angry, and they will tell ten people.

This is not good business sense...what a moron!

Although selling on PL does not help REVpar, it helps your bottom line. REVpar is a poor indicator of true financial performance...it's just a way for hotel franchises to try to justify all their fees to hotel owners.

And I'm glad to report that 90% of my Priceline experiences have been great. I think 1 in 10 is about the hit rate for bad experiences not using PL, anyway.
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