Conventional wisdom says that during a recession, you cut, cut, cut your way back to profitability. And that includes slashing resources devoted to customer service.
But some hotels are going against the grain, according to reader Doreen Friel — despite what I discovered in a recent column. Her story gives all of us hope at a time when record numbers of properties are going into foreclosure.
Last weekend, we had the pleasure of staying at the Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village in Orlando.
In any case, they turned a stay that could have been unpleasant into one that was very pleasant. The first evening, our sleep was disrupted several times by inconsiderate guests shouting in the hallway as they were walking to the elevator. (These were not children and it was not limited to one set of guests.) Unfortunately, our room was not far from the elevator, so we couldn’t help but be disturbed by their antics.
The next morning, at 8 a.m., I approached the front desk and nicely asked for a room change, to a low-traffic area.
At a time like this, you would image the hotel wouldn’t give away anything. So if it moved Friel, it would be to one in the same room class.
Not only did they honor my request, but they upgraded us to a much nicer room, and also granted our request for a late check-out the next day (2 p.m. instead of noon).
They could have easily turned us down on both counts. Their desire to assist us turned a weekend that could have gone south into one that wound up on a very high note.
Is the Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista an exception to the rule? Probably.
The hotel industry is in a state of panic. And every time you turn around, seems there’s someone saying the worst isn’t over yet.
I think other hotels can learn a lot from the actions of this particular Marriott property. This is exactly the right time to be upgrading your customer service — when you have nothing to lose, and when your customers will appreciate it the most.