I was booking a hotel for an upcoming weekend away. I found the perfect room at the Holiday Inn Express in Woodbury, Minnesota (just east of St. Paul): a two room suite, close to Stillwater and the St. Croix Valley.
When I called the hotel the woman who answered the phone spoke so quickly I couldn’t understand her. I inquired about the suite I wanted and it was available; great, I’ll take it! (Two room suites aren’t easy to find near Stillwater) She quoted me the price and I asked about a AAA discount. She told me there wasn’t one.
I should mention that I am a Priority Club member (always join hotel rewards clubs- it’s free) and have stayed with HIE many times. So when she said there was no AAA rate I was skeptical but wanted the reservation in place so I finished the booking.
Then I went back online. I saw a few price discrepancies so I called the toll free number. While the room I booked wasn’t shown online (which is why I always call the hotel directly to ask about room specifics) the operator was able to tell me that a AAA rate was available and applied it to my account.
The fact that a AAA discount was available and I was told it wasn’t when I specifically asked for it frustrated me so I called back to the hotel. The phone was answered by the woman who I had spoken to previously. I asked to speak with a manager; she told me she was a supervisor, could she help me? “No,” I replied, “I would really like to speak with a manager.”
She transferred me and I left a message.
About 35 minutes later I received a call from Robert Davis, the general manager of the property. He was very apologetic and said that, if the room you want is available, there is always a AAA rate. He assured me that the supervisor I dealt with would be spoken to and the situation would be addressed immediately. He also thanked me for bringing this to his attention and reduced the rate for my room.
Here’s what I learned from this (and what you can learn from me):
- If something doesn’t seem right don’t be afraid to question it.
- Go directly to the manager if you have a problem.
- Be polite when stating the problem and don’t be afraid to ask for the problem to be fixed (as in my case I asked for the discount to be applied; the additional discount was a bonus).
- Because you have established this personal relationship with the manager you want to be sure to introduce yourself when you can (if the issue was handled over the phone) and thank them again for their assistance. Personal relationships go a long way in the hospitality industry.