Starwood Hawaii Hotels Response to Guests During the Tsunami Danger

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by Lighthouse, Mar 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Lighthouse
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    Lighthouse Gold Member

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    On another thread in the General Discusion/Travel section there has been an animated discussion of the lack of appropriate response of some of the Hawaiian hotels to their guests during the recent potential crisis. I am flagging it in the Starwood section because the OP was at a Sheraton on the Big Island.

    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads...ight-when-i-was-involuntarily-evacuated.6739/

    I personally was at the St Regis Kauai. I was initially so relieved to be safe with my wife and appreciative of the extra efforts of the hotel staff that I did not give this issue much thought until reading this thread back at home.

    Now I have---- and I totally agree with the OP and gleff in this post. For those asked to leave their rooms and stay in the lobby near midnight for four hours, for those moved earlier to other rooms in the middle of the night, even those spending the night up worried about their safety in their ocean front rooms -- it was a complete disruption. I also have empathy for the hotel staff that was working hard throughout the night to ensure our safety. The owners and the management companies of these and other hotels (who were never in personal danger) get paid very handsomely from very expensive rates and services. This type of natural disaster is a rare and extreme situation. Guests should all be given some form of credits and the appropriate staff bonuses in such a situation. As an individual who has run global businesses it is simply a cost of doing business and the right thing to do by your customers and staff.

    I agree with the OP that a high end hotel really shows its true character by how it handles such extreme situations. In that thread both the Four Seasons and the Hyatt are complimented for their gestures to their guests. Starwood did not fare as well. While I am very fond of the St Regis Kauai and have it highly ranked on two separate threads on Exceptional Hawaii and Starwood hotels it truly showed itself to be a second rate property in spirit on this occasion.

    I am interested in other Starwood members who may have been effected or have thoughts on this issue. I also wanted to make sure the OP's concerns were properly flagged to the highly esteemed Starwood Champion and am curious about whether there are any overall Starwood policies that he can discuss with us.
     
  2. avflyer
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    I am the OP on the original thread. I have just one more comment to make, further highlighting my disappointment. In order to resolve this situation, I contacted the Plat Concierge. I have called twice. The first time I was told "the hotel has not yet decided what they will be doing regarding this". The second time I was told "the lady that does the accounting at the hotel has called in sick". I do not intend on calling and begging for my money a third time.

    IMHO the Sheraton on Big Island is only a marginal property. Because of convenience factors and reasonable rates we have stayed their many times in the past year or so (you can read my post in the Master Thread for this hotel). This incident is making me throw my hands in the air. We visit Kona at least four times a year, and we will be hard pressed to go back to the Sheraton.
     
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  3. SPG Champion
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    Who? :confused:

    Regarding the incident cited in the other thread, I am aware of it; however, the OP was advised several times to contact me with his details, yet my Inbox is void. Lacking anything forwardable to Consumer Affairs on his behalf, I am a little hamstrung in that regard.

    Also, posting the incident to another thread outside of this forum doesn't seem the best way to get it seen by anyone here representing Starwood. I have been available to folks here ever since this forum went public on March 1st and for another 12 years at Flyertalk, so I don't hide when things like this happen, but neither do I force myself on someone if they are trying to avoid me for whatever reason.

    As for the larger policy issue, hotels are allowed to resolve guest complaints in a manner that they see fit until it counters the best interest of everyone involved, including the company itself. That is why Consumer Affairs exists...to help the hotels see the larger picture and understand where accommodations should be extended. If the regular customer service channels have been attempted and the case needs to be escalated, then they are the department to which the matter should be referred. I'm more than willing, as usual, to assist with that.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    guest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
     
  4. Lighthouse
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    Lighthouse Gold Member

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    William,
    Thanks for the rapid response. I like the term champion much more. It more truly represents the manner in which you have performed your duties over the past twelve years. I have corrected my earlier post to represent that.
    Given that the earthquake and it's aftereffects were on a truly global scale (not your local power outage) did consumer affairs try to give their individual hotels guidance on how to handle guests that were impacted?
    I am a big Starwood fan but in retrospect I am surprised at how one of the most elite hotels in your group handled things especially in relationship to it's high end competitors. It seemed like a good opportunity to create goodwill and encourage guests to come back and spend a lot more of their money. A small tin of chocolate covered macadamia nuts did not seem to convey the gracious St Regis image.
     
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  5. SPG Champion
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    It would not be Consumer Affairs rice bowl to do this. Rather, this would fall under the auspices of the regional Starwood authorities.

    I guess my first question in this regard would be, "What did they say when you conveyed your feelings about this to them?"

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    guest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
     
  6. Lighthouse
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    William,
    At the time though extremely tired I was relieved that it was a non-event. I was also very appreciative of the effort of the hotel employees.
    My only reaction was to be extraordinarily polite and helpful. Not to complain. I have not --and will not approach this issue as one individual looking for personal redress.
    The point I am trying to make is that I expected more of a gracious gesture from a flagship St Regis property. I think the OP feels similarly about the Sheraton. In his thread it is clear that some of your competitors the Four Seasons and even the Hyatt appreciated that and took the initiative on their own with their guests.
    I am a Platinum SPG member and as I have stated am a Starwood fan. Please do not take this the wrong way but as a life long customer I constructively am trying to convey that Regional could have handled this better.
    Hope this helps.
     
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  7. SPG Champion
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    Sorry if it seems I am taking it the wrong way, but the best way you can have them fulfill your expectations going forward is to let them know they disappointed you this time around. If you wish to do so, send an email with your reflections to Corporate Customer Service at customercare@starwoodhotels.com. I'm sure they will be glad to hear from you.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    guest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
     
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  8. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    William:

    First off, I am not clear about why, after contacting SPG Platinum Concierge, I would get a different result with you....you know what they say about the definition of insanity?

    Second, although I may have been advised to contact you (twice, not "several” times as you say), I elected not to, as once again, I don't really feel like begging for my money. It seems to me two calls to the Concierge should be sufficient.
     
  9. SPG Champion
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    Because I have a way of moving things along and getting them escalated to the right people. Platinum Concierge is a first line of customer service and I can kick it up where it needs to be if they falter.

    I also counted post #29 in addition to #20 and #37, so that was several in my mind, not two; however, I can see how YMMV. Personally, I don't call seeing to it that the right folks hear your complaint as "begging". Rather it seems infinitely more futile to continue to rehash the issue without using the advice given. Now that you have contacted me via email, I have what I need now to escalate it to Consumer Affairs. We'll have to see if they are able to intervene and turn this around, but at least it will get to the right people.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    guest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
     
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  10. duker
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    I think what both fiji and avflyer are trying to say is that they are disappointed at Starwood's reaction to this macro event where you are forcing each individual to express their discontent about Starwood's reaction to this event and passing them around frustratingly a big Starwood bureaucracy. This is in comparison to your competitors response to take the intitiative themselves on a macro basis. As a Platinum Starwood member I think they have a very good point!
     
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  11. avflyer
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    Exactly.
     
  12. DYKWIA
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    Perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but a natural disaster (act of god in contract terms... something Starwood couldn't control) kills thousands on the other side of the ocean and people are upset because the hotel they were staying in didn't handle evacuations/disruption in a gracious enough manner? Sheeh.
     
  13. duker
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    DYKWIA
    What a rude inconsiderate comment. That I or anyone else chose to comment about Starwood's policies does not negate any of our concerns for the great tragedy that occurred abroad. You have no idea of what any of us may have contributed to charities to help those abroad but I can probably bet it is a lot more than you have. In looking at your non serious flippant recent posts on MP "Sheeh"
     
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  14. SPG Champion
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    I can appreciate that some hoteliers operate according to their internal structure as Starwood does.

    There are some policy items, such as waiving cancellation policies, that can be decided upon from a company/regional/brand perspective and passed along to the properties affected. These were passed along to all the affected properties.

    Then there are items which are decided upon at the property level. To me, Fiji's disappointment is best sorted out at the property level because what he is referencing isn't dictated from on high. Same as in the case of avflyer where the property is allowed to make these types of decisions. Obviously, avflyer is not happy with the initial response he got from the property, so I am more than happy to see if Consumer Affairs can work towards a better outcome.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    guest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
     
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  15. avflyer
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    As promised I am reporting that the hotel has agreed to process a refund. At the risk of seeming ungrateful, I have to say that the process for this was way too lengthy. Again, IMHO this should have been a blanket deal for all guests who were locked out of their rooms.

    Anyway, thanks to Bill and Consumer Affairs.
     
  16. SPG Champion
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    No problem, avflyer. I am pleased that this all worked out for you and am glad to have been of assistance.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    guest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
     

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