Y2K? Only 11 years late

Why yes, Ben and I did enjoy our time in Richmond, we did experience one hiccup: the hotel.

Mostly, it was a ton of small things.  Nothing was worth complaining over, just annoying.

  • The champaign and strawberries weren’t in our room when we arrived.  When we called down to find out what the deal was, we were told that they “hadn’t gotten to all the rooms yet,” but it would arrive that evening.  Knowing that we wanted to leave the hotel by 8, we asked for it to arrive at 6:30.  It actually arrived slightly after 6:45. 
  • As a member of Omni’s Select Guest program, we receive two complementary beverages each morning.  On Saturday morning, again, the beverages arrived a bit late. 
  • The toilet in our room wasn’t working properly upon check in. 

After celebrating the new year, we were excited to get back to our room and relax.  However, at midnight, something happened with the hotel’s door lock software, and every guest was locked out of their room.  After they tried to re-program our keys three times, they realized it was a major software error and they would need to go around and manually let each guest into their room with the master-key. After about an hour of waiting, a frantic hotel employee finally reached our floor and let us into our room. 

In the morning, a letter was slipped under our door explaining the situation.  A few hours later, a follow-up letter arrived saying that due to the software problem, the hotel would not be offering housekeeping that day, unless you call and specifically ask. 

I had a few problems with the way this was handled:

  • While it was happening, the guy at the front desk made no apology and was very short with the guests.  I understand that the situation was not his fault, and many guests were probably taking their anger out on him.  However, at this point, he was the face of the company and he was not being kind to the masses of guests who were locked out of their room. 
  • I’m not sure I fully understand why they were unable to offer housekeeping after the software breakdown.  At that point, the software program was working again, and guests were able to enter their rooms with a re-programmed keys.  The master keys housekeeping uses surely should be working as well.
  • In neither of the two letters did the Director of Rooms apologize to guests.  There was no apology or “we’re sorry for the inconvenience.”   If it were my hotel, the first thing I would have done was offer the guests an apology.   
  • When Ben went to discuss the incident with the front desk the next morning, the day manager was very defensive about the situation.  While discussing issues with her she kept saying things like, “well there is no way we could have predicted this” and “there was no way we could have known to try to prevent this from happening.”  Ben finally looked at her and noted that the guests hadn’t been offered an apology yet.  The look on the woman’s face was of pure shock – I couldn’t tell if she was shocked that we actually wanted an apology or if she was just realizing that the hotel had never offered one.  However, her response was, “well the letters were written as the chaos of last night was happening.  They were written in jest.”  Ben and I just stared at her.  Then she realized that she should probably offer an apology to the guests standing in front of her. 

In the end, the hotel did offer us a complimentary breakfast buffet for Sunday morning and give us a 25 percent discount on the room for the first night.  It was a nice peace offering in the end.  However,  I was very disappointed that this hotel did not live up to the “Omni experience” we received in both Boston and Austin.

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