December 20, 2010

Don’t go knockin’ if the hotel is rockin’

One of the many perks of my profession is the opportunity to visit different parts of New Mexico and the United States on business.  Traveling means hotels and true to the code of road warriors, I have a list of “reward” numbers and personal preferences.  My patterns usually alternate between Hilton and Marriott, though I will stay in a B&B for a change of pace every now and then.

On a recent trip to Portales, New Mexico there was only one hotel option, a Holiday Inn Express.  I made the reservation using my Priority Club ® Rewards number and arrived about 9pm.  Upon checking in, I saw my original room number 223 was crossed out and my new room 328 was written and circled above it.

About 9:45pm, the “horror of the night” (thank you Jay Baer for the epic line) manifested itself, this hotel is located right next to the railroad tracks and highway.  Calling the front desk, I learn that the train comes through two/three times a night.  My room literally swayed and shook when the train passes.  When the third train passed at 3am, it occurred to me… the front desk actually moved me from the peaceful east side of the hotel to the Armageddon’esqe cacophony of the west side.

Why was my room moved?  My gold status was likely trumped by a platinum (which I am finding out is like getting an unbent fork in a cafeteria).  When I called the front desk, they were generally clueless and offered no words of consolation, no ear plugs, no floor stabilizers.  Maybe they were shell shocked by the regular rumbling of the train and blasting of the horn.  My guess is, I wasn’t the first to complain; the train tracks were there long before the hotel.

Lesson learned: have a customer service plan in place to address issues that are beyond the businesses control.  If you don’t then you are taking customers for granted and that’s the quickest and easiest way to lose future business.

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