I recently returned from a multi-city business trip that included a stay in Canada. Unlike the “old days” when I called my travel agent and provided key dates/cities, it’s all up to me to organize the details.
Like most, I spent an inordinate amount of time on various travel sites, trying to secure the best deal on an airline, hotel and car rental. Sometimes I read user-generated reviews (especially if the “deal” seemed too good to be true), and sometimes I looked at photos of rooms and amenities (being a daily swimmer, I look for a decent pool that’s onsite).
However at the end of the day, what I remember most about any of those selected brands I chose to interact with were the folks who provided service. At the airport, it was the gate agent, the flight attendant and the captain who thanked me on my way off the plane. At the hotel, it was the front desk staff, the gal who took my room service order and the guy who delivered it. All are typically part of the experience the guest references when writing a review.
But what about the guys who knocked and entered my room — without my permission as they failed to hear my response through a closed bathroom door? When I heard them enter and shouted out (from a bathtub of bubbles) “MAY I HELP YOU?” they responded “Just checking on the WiFi!”
Without a bathrobe in arm’s length, I must admit I panicked, and shouted back, “Please get out.” They did, but not a “sorry” was heard. Just a little snickering.
And what about the lost luggage representative I encountered? He didn’t seem particularly concerned that I was in town for one night and one meeting — missing the suitcase that contained my “business appropriate attire” for the next day, plus cosmetics that were mandatory for being seen in public. He didn’t acknowledge the panic in my voice — he just handed me the standard issue 4” x 3” bag of toiletries and said he hoped it might arrive on the next flight.
Or how about the front desk clerk who asked “how was your stay?” My response was a snarky “well, when the hotel lost 4 hours of electricity, it didn’t help me finish my presentation at a reasonable hour, and your pictures of the hotel pool online indicate it’s close to Olympic size, when actuality it’s about 15 meters and quite dirty.” She blinked at me blankly and said, “Hope to see you again soon!”
However, there was one redeeming moment. When I checked in without luggage (I don’t think that small emergency travel kit counts as luggage) and asked the front desk clerk if they had any contact lens solution, a manager heard my request, came over and offered me his personal supply.
Which of these brands will I write a positive online review about? Which of these brands will I seek out again in the future and show my loyalty over and over again? Which of these brands will I evangelize with family, colleagues and friends? Which of these brands achieved a positive ROI on their investment in customer support staff?
You get one guess.