What should I do

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by WilliamQ, Mar 31, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    This was actually regarding a stay toward the end of 2014. Raising this up only now because I just realised it. What happened was my wife booked us a penthouse room for two nights. It was a last minute booking, less than a week but we still had to pre-pay. At check-in, I was told we were upgraded only to realise now that it was in fact a room two categories lower than the one we booked.

    I wrote to the hotel and was told that the room I booked was unavailable hence they gave me the next best "similar" room that is also supposedly bigger.

    I feel upset as the hotel was not truthful during check in. I was told that I was upgraded (as a Gold) when I was actually given a room two categories down. There has so far been no offer to make good or compensate except that the matter was noted and it will not happen again.

    But I paid extra for the two categories up which is a penthouse and I was also their member, albeit only Gold. I mean, I paid to confirm a room and now you tell me it was unavailable when I write in with direct questions. Why did the FD say I was upgraded?

    Not naming the hotel here yet and I am still considering my response.

    It felt like I paid for a BMW and got a Toyota because they were out of BMW and then told that I had an upgraded BMW.

    Biggest thing against me was that I did not realise it then. Still, the hotel pulled the records and they are not denying it happened. Just surprised that the initial reply did not automatically include a compensation offer.

    What should I do and what should I expect?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
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  2. SPG Champion 3
    Original Member

    SPG Champion 3 Official Representative

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    Hi WilliamQ,

    I would suggest you contact Corporate Customer Service to file a formal complaint regarding this issue. You can reach them via email at customercare@starwoodhotels.com.

    If you can provide the reservation details to us via private mail or email below, we can assist to open the file for you.

    Best Regards,

    Christina Zhou
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com
     
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  3. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Hi Christina,

    Thank you for getting back to me.
    Before deciding if I should follow-up one way or the other, may I ask what can a SPG Gold guest (or does it matter) who has a pre-paid confirmed booking for a certain room category and during check in, the room category is not available. Can the customer expect to be compensated or upgraded? If an upgrade was not possible, and the customer is placed in a room that is 2 categories down, what about the price differential that was already paid?

    Thank you.

     
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  4. SPG Champion
    Original Member

    SPG Champion Official Representative

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    If you are asking us to say how your complaint will be resolved and whether there will be compensation involved before it is filed, then we are going to have to respectfully decline to offer an opinion because the outcome is not in our direct control.

    In most situations where there is a paid-rate reservation, the room type and smoking preferences are confirmed and if the hotel doesn't deliver what was confirmed at booking, then it is a room type discrepancy issue that should be reported. It should be noted, however, that there can sometimes be extenuating circumstances (mistake rates, for example) that may affect the eventual outcome.

    The process is this: You need to file a formal complaint whenever you perceive that you've experienced a deficiency in service or accommodations. This places the issue before the executive office of the hotel to resolve, but it leaves a (virtual) paper trail and it affects their Guest Experience Index for the month, which will be reviewed by those in the corporate office.

    Hopefully, they can resolve this to your satisfaction. If they do not, there are ways to escalate it beyond the hotel and get a final review, but it all begins with filing a formal complaint. If you need help doing so, send me the confirmation number via Private Message.

    Best regards,

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

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com
     
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  5. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Hi William, thanks for the reply. I was certainly not expecting anyone to speculate on the possible resolution outcome especially since I have not laid everything on the table. Whilst I have expectations when I stay at a hotel, I do not believe in publicly shaming a property for incidents that might be one off. In fact, if the property in their initial response had only offered or at least acknowledged the fact that I had paid for a more expensive room but was eventually housed in a room two categories lower, this post would not have happened. I had actually crafted a response highlighting that it is not solely a case of "no upgrades" but I was short-changed on the product based on the rates paid. I did not send out the email as I wanted to know I was not being unreasonable and acting out like a DYKWIA. Your general response to similar cases was exactly what I needed. I am also pretty certain there is no mistake rate in this situation but still a good point to note. Having considered your response, (rightly or wrongly), I will write back one more time drawing their attention to the issues of price charged vs room provided. In that aspect, I believe there is little room for "interpretation" errors. I hope the email will then trigger genuine attempts to address this oversight and the matter can be closed. If not, then if you are still willing to assist, I will provide you with all the documentations and correspondence ever made.
     
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  6. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Note: Regardless how this turns out, I am probably not going to name the property but I will still post an outcome so that this could help others in future.
     
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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    We see plenty of positive posts where individual hotels are named, and the reader has no idea if the positive experience was a one-off or standard practice. While I probably wouldn't go on a virtual rampage, I do believe that negative experiences should be documented (especially if they are experiences of a trustworthy source, not a first-time-poster). How else would a consumer otherwise develop an expectation of the service (or recovery in case of a service failure)? I don't consider a factual post "shaming".
     
  8. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    I wrote back to the hotel highlighting the price differential.
    A few hours later, I received a response (2 actually).
    They acknowledged the matter and would like to work at restoring my confidence in the hotel.
    If I choose to return, I will be given a guaranteed upgrade to their 2nd tier suites, a category above the standard suites (they have 6 tiers, but 8 different types). Breakfast for two will also be included and was promised the next stay would be exceptional. They even invited me for tea this weekend if I could give them the time.

    I have to give them credit. They may not have gotten the service recovery right the first time round but they are attempting to turn a bad situation into more revenue opportunities for the property. In truth, other than the room paid vs room stayed mismatch, the hotel is actually known for their great service and I honestly had a good time last year. I discussed this over with my wife and she agreed with me that we should take them up on their offer for a return stay somewhere in the future. The hotel may be pricey but they have a great product and generally excellent service. Although a mistake was made, the hotel managed to convince us that they are worth another shot to develop a relationship together.

    As for the offered tea, may have to decline as I have another 2 nights stay with the family in..... Sheraton Towers this weekend :D. SPG is indeed growing on me (and the family).

    Once again, Thank you Christina and William for your respective suggestions and advice. I appreciate the fact that SPG have you here on MP to provide advice and offer of assistance in situations both good and bad. Sure helps make me feel appreciated as a customer.

    For those who are still keen to know more about the specifics, feel free to drop me a PM

    :D:D:D

    Sheraton Towers... Here I come in 24 hours time!
     
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  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So wait, did I miss the part where they are refunding the difference between what you paid and what you got?

    Bingo!

    Do you have a stay history with that hotel and they know you you likely need to stay there or at another hotel in that town again? If the hotel I am sending this from right now offered me some deal like that, I wouldn't be thrilled because it is not likely that I am going to be staying here (in the area) again any time soon.
     
  10. jdanielca

    jdanielca Member

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    ok I do not know how it is you go about life, because you just allowed them to take a dump on your head. Your email to them was weak.. to say the least. I have no way of making my post less offensive. You wait for someone to tell you what you deserve, how's that working out for your in general. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to know that you should be compensated with a refund on the price difference IF ANY, this should be calculated on the the day you paid for said room. And on top of that they can give you whatever they have offered that is fine. There are 2 parts to this, rectification of the situation which can only be achieved with a refund of the difference and you have compensation for the lying and etc. I do not see how the above is solving both issues at the same time.
     
  11. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

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    I'd like to say welcome, but if you don't know any way of making your post less offensive perhaps this isn't the right site for you. We tend to be a bit more respectful around here!
     
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  12. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Hi @HaveMilesWillTravel, we only had a 2 night stay with them and no other previous stay history. Also, in their response to me, they obviously skirted around the issue of compensation and opt to acknowledge the issue and asked for a chance to make things good should I choose to return for a stay. While not offered, I had the feeling that if I said I will not consider a return and requested compensation in terms of points or refunds, I would be surprised if it was denied. What happened was that they offered a way forward that they think might work for us and the hotel. If we decline, we will probably then start the discussion on appropriate compensation. It's just that I choose to accept.

    My wife and I had always agreed that we liked the property and would most likely return in the future for more stays so we decided to accept a free suite upgrade offer regardless of room booked and complimentary breakfast . We felt that this is what we prefer and is willing to accept this. I agree if this was not my home country nor a location I might return to, this offer would not have been attractive at all and I would certainly seek a refund on the price difference and some points for the issue.

    Again, other than the room issue, they truly were great during our last stay and I even gave one of the staff a Gold Elite Thank You certificate. I am willing to let them try again and when I do, I think they will be doing their best. :D
     
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  13. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Hi @jdanielca, welcome to MP.

    I understand how some might see the compensation offer as weak but since I have not shared any of the actual correspondences here, I do not think my email to them could be considered weak.

    For me, in general, when I noticed a mistake has been committed against me, I try to work things out and let the other party make a reconciliatory offer and then we move forward with it. If I feel that the initial offer was not sincere or I am short-changed, I will certainly follow-up with a different track.

    From experience, I discover that this way, I usually make friends along the way. Ok, friends may be a stretch but I certainly avoid making too many enemies along the way. This is not to say that I do not get taken advantage of or I am always "right" but that is how I choose to flow.

    As for why I (IMHO) feel the offered solution is equivalent, the property offered a future upgrade and since I do plan to stay with them in the future, this means I can book a basic room and get a not basic suite with savings. The estimated savings at this property due to the upgrade is certainly beyond the price value difference of a 2-room category I lost. As for the "extras" in view of the spoilt experience, they offered complimentary breakfast which as a Gold SPG, this is something extra and of value.

    This was not the only choice I have. It's just the first thing they tried in their attempt of service recovery. I just choose to accept it as offered. It might have failed with some guests in different situations than mine but hey, nothing's ever truly the same. :D
     
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  14. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Hi @estnet, How have you been!

    I would actually say that MP folks are more then just respectful.
    We are a huge family of online posters and we learn to give and take.
    Hope to see you at the C.Lounge (or some other threads) sometime! :)
     
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  15. jcsjcs

    jcsjcs Active Member

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    You should definitely push harder. They are making fun of you so far. I would write back and thank them for the generous offer to make good for the lying to you during check-in (actually that constitutes intentional fraud since they tried to cover up that fact when checking you in), and ask them how they are intending to refund the difference between the rate paid and services delivered.

    That management definitely needs to get their act together.

    JCS.
     
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  16. Thomask

    Thomask Silver Member

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    Again, other than the room issue, they truly were great during our last stay and I even gave one of the staff a Gold Elite Thank You certificate. I am willing to let them try again and when I do, I think they will be doing their best. :D[/QUOTE]

    you are generous and you have a good heart, I can learn from you. Btw. I like the property and its location. I have stayed there once and redeemed a complimentary night.
     
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  17. uggboy
    Original Member

    uggboy Gold Member

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    Fair play. :)
     
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  18. jamesb2147

    jamesb2147 Silver Member

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    You almost have to name this property, man!

    After two attempts and still no mention of compensation, I'd stay away from the property. I'm glad you're coming to what is, for you, a satisfactory resolution. For those of us who would not be satisfied with the response, it would be nice to know about a property best avoided.

    FWIW, I'd like to know how that looks on their books. Because to me, that sounds like an awful lot like "unearned revenue" and that gets to sit on the liabilities side of their books forever, much like gift cards without expiration dates.
     

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