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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

November
17
2011
7:00 am
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Dear Hampton Inn,

I’m not one to write a letter such as this.  I’m a calm, cool-headed consumer who goes about his business with little fanfare.   But your actions have compelled me to respond. 

I’ll put it simply: You have impressed me for the last time.

I am sick and tired of you exceeding my expectations.  I know letters like this come across your corporate desk every day, but please bear with me and take the time to read mine.  Don’t just throw it away.  This incident means something to me, so I’d appreciate my story meaning something to you. 

Traveling is a constant way of living for me.  Airplane, rental cars and hotel rooms are like second homes.  I usually know where I’ll be ahead of time, and there are several cities I frequent.  In those areas, I have found my “favorite spots” to stay and try to give those hotels my repeat business.  However, this time around I was in a relatively new area and I had neglected to pre-book my lodging.

So there I was… 6pm.  Alone.   No place to stay.

Let’s begin with how easy you were to find.  I cannot believe I had to completely change my plans because of how little time it took to locate you.  I had expected to have to look online, call around, drive aimlessly, or otherwise figure out where to stay and how much it would cost.  But NO.  It took me less than five minutes to find you,see a price AND BOOK MY ROOM from my iPhone.

Do you understand what that does to me?  My entire evening’s plans of procuring adequate lodging… completely shot!  I didn’t get to talk to anyone.  I wasn’t put on hold or lost in some dialing tree hell.  I wasn’t hung up on… NOT EVEN ONCE.  I wasn’t even able to get obscure web browser errors trying to make a reservation with my credit card.  It. Just. Worked.

How do you think I felt, having completed what I had budgeted a significant portion of my precious time to this process, only to be abruptly slapped in the face with a short 5 minute procedure?  To add insult to injury, I was rendered speechless as I stared at my phone, trying to come to grips with the lowest price I’d paid for a hotel in years.

YEARS.

How could I explain this to my kids?  How can I prepare them for a world such as this, where companies like you can get away with charging such a measly price?

I thought I was done with the shock. 

Sadly, no.  It gets worse.  A LOT worse.

I drove up and there wasn’t anyone blocking the main entrance.  I couldn’t detect a single trace of any trash anywhere, and believe me, I looked.  My sensibilities were visibly shaken by the creative “hello” sign etched into the automatic glass doors at the front of the building.  Do you really think I expected that? 

As I walked in, my olfactory senses were accosted. Scents of way-too-pleasant odors wafted my way and permeated my being.  It’s like my nostrils were being groped by an angel. 

Admittedly, I was a little bewildered by the experience.  However, I quickly gained composure and strode up to the registration desk, which was a little too close to the front door if you ask me.  I’m used to walking much longer distances and being a little confused as to which desk to approach — do I go to the normal counter?  Do I use the VIP counter?  What if I’m bothering the person behind the computer?  What will I encounter when I finally get there?

Alex.

Alex.

Alex is what I encountered.

Let me ask you something.  Do have some manufacturing plant somewhere that cranks out service personnel who are neither too helpful nor too unhelpful, resulting in the perfect amount of helptitude?  You know what I’m talking about – people who have a positive attitude and will do basically anything to ensure your stay is a good one, but doesn’t go overboard?  And when you fabricated this apparent unnatural person, why did you apply the “make banter and side talk that is actually interesting and doesn’t feel fake or superficial” add-on?  Don’t you think you could leave well-enough alone?

No, you didn’t leave well enough alone. 

He gave me free wifi.  The nerve! 

Let’s see, what else happened. Oh, I was asked what floor I preferred.  Alex wanted to verify that I was just staying the one night.  He inquired into my personal business to ask if I was enjoying the area.  AND THEN HE STARTED TO TELL ME ALL ABOUT THE BREAKFAST PLANS for the morning, and that it’d be available from 6-10. 

Don’t you realize that you’re making me miss the morning hunt for information while I’m running late to a client, ironing my shirt and trying to check out?

When he noticed how uncomfortable I was with his constant and reliable service, he did the unthinkable.  It’s like he wanted to throw me off guard and savored every moment.  I’m sure he’s still smiling about it.

He offered me a free bottled water.

I panicked, and ran out.

Finally rid of the hotel manager who clearly didn’t have anything better to do than make my day much more fantastic than I could hope for, I went back to park my car.  You’d think I’d expect what happened next, given the ample foreshadowing, but I guess I’ll never learn.

There was a parking space open RIGHT NEXT to the side entrance.  I know!  I can’t believe it either.  And not only that, but there was plenty of available parking all around the entrance, so it’s like you’re TRYING to save me time and energy. 

So I get up to my floor, open the hotel door (which, incidentally, didn’t cause me any problems whatsoever… another rarity that I’m sad to report to you) and immediately stopped in my tracks.

The furniture.  It was way too nice.

The temperature.  It wasn’t anywhere near too hot or too cold for me.  In fact, I’m shaking as I type this — the temperature was downright perfect.  Do you think that is forgivable?

The bed had a lapdesk sitting on it, just out in the open.  It had a remote, an HBO guide and a hand-written note from Teresita in housekeeping welcoming me.  Do you really think I would want this kind of intrusion into my life?  What am I supposed to do with THAT?

There were (get this) 8 pillows.  EIGHT.  And they were (*shudder*) full and fluffy.  If anyone knows anything about me, it’s my addiction to a high quantity of full, fluffy pillows.  And here you are, feeding my addiction like a drug dealer.  I hope you’re satisfied with yourself.

The desk wasn’t an awkward height like I’m used to, and you seem to have gone out of your way to place the power plugs right on the top instead of hidden down behind the TV where it’s supposed to be.  Oh, and the desk chair?  Where’d you get it, The Expensive Store?  It was all padded, comfortable, adjustable and attractive.

OMG the kleenex.  SOMEBODY (I’m not naming names, but I suspect Teresita, frankly) had formed a little tissue rose out of three or four kleenex’s and placed it top of the tissue box.

Did I mention there was a tall refrigerator?  and a MICROWAVE! and a big flat screen TV?  And an attractive bureau where I could hang my business clothes?  AND FLOWERS?!?!?!?

I hope you’re listening to what I had to endure.

Oh, another thing.  I haven’t heard a single neighbor make those familiar noises.  Not in the adjoining rooms.  Not in the hallway.  Nothing.

The bed was one of the most comfortable things I’ve slept on in my life.  If you think I’m going to forget that, you’re wrong.  You’ve effectively ruined most all other beds in this world for me, and YOU have to live with that.

One last thing – the wifi.  It turned out that I didn’t even get to use your free wifi, because the room I was given just happened to be right at the far corner of the building.  It overlooked a Fedex office that just happened to have very fast free wifi that no-one else was using, since it was in the evening and they were either closed or just not busy.  So I had one of the best Internet experiences of my life.   oh thank you so very much (shrug).

I started off the letter with a summary.  “You’ve impressed me for the last time.”  I mean that – you’ve forever ruined me and my hotel shopping, for now my expectations are irreversibly set.

My hopes are that you become  prepared for my ongoing and relentless response.  I will not rest until I’ve slept in one of your Cloud Nine beds again.  I won’t eat until I’ve encountered the On the House hot breakfast.  I will continue to patronize your business again and again until you get it through your heads that I am not someone to be trifled with, and until you provide the service I expect for such a low price.

You had it coming.  You know you did.

I’m looking forward to your continued improvement.

Sincerely,

 

whall,
the blog of whall

And lo, the people did comment thus:

26 Comments

  1. bubblewench says:

    Priceless… what bastards!

  2. Dave2 says:

    They truly are heartless and evil. They lured me in with their free internet, then trapped me with their sweet amenities and service to become a staple of my travel routine. It”s things like this that are a shining example of why we need more government regulation in the hotel industry.

  3. Megan says:

    I dare you to send this to Hampton Inn corporate if you haven’t. They won’t know what hit ’em.

  4. Sybil Law says:

    How dare they!

  5. Phil Cordell, Global Head Hampton brand says:

    We’re up for the challenge! Our goal is to continue to impress you – lasting impressions are a good thing. Keep an eye out for even more good stuff in the months ahead. Love your review – keep that feedback coming.

  6. martymankins says:

    I hope they didn’t also shower you with Hilton Hhonors points for your stay. That’s the ultimate betrayal. Or maybe even bonus points for your stay… that’s the final gauntlet.

  7. How DARE they show their face here on your blog too and show that they listen and care?! After all you’ve already been put through?!

  8. Eva says:

    Team members connecting with Guests that’s Hampton, and that’s what it’s all about!

  9. KinseyMillhone says:

    whall, I work for Hilton and Phil is the real deal around here. He is as good as his word, so just a word to the wise he will do it. I enjoyed your post and it makes me proud to work for Hilton. And yes, we do care, even those of us at “Corporate”. And yes, I read the entire post.

  10. dmarks says:

    The opposite is evil Howard Johnson. They consider honoring reservations to be optional; a favor to you.

  11. awesome, whall. this post made my day. (i travel enough to also know that i love the hampton inn folks, too.)

  12. Lisa says:

    We love having you here! Hampton is an amazing brand and we look forward to you staying with us!

  13. Klesnick says:

    Go Team Hampton!

  14. Shelia says:

    There is no place like Hampton 🙂

  15. JanetA says:

    Along with Phil, I have to commend you for giving back so much loving feedback. You made my day! And I have a feeling, you haven’t seen the last of us! Thanks for lifting us all up.

  16. Rita Truman says:

    I have been employed in the hotel industry for 25 years now, in many capacities including management positions. I’ve worked for several brands, including one of Hilton’s larger competitors. (though I will not name any Brand) I have to say that I have worked for a Hampton Inn now for about seven years and would work for no one else! I have been fortunate enough to find a property with a good team and a great GM! Thank you for your excellent Post! You have made me realize, once again, why I do this job and still, after so many years, LOVE IT! Keep coming to the Hampton, We Truly Do…Love Having You Here! (and will continue to prove it!)

  17. Samantha Lehrer - GM Hampton Inn - Nanuet, NY says:

    I have had the pleasure of working for the Hilton Family of brands for 13 years; proudly 9 of those years have been with Hampton. The secret is our “Hamptonality” I know, I know it may seem appalling, but we just can’t help spreading our Hamptonality in all we do, from our clean comfortable rooms, to our fabulous breakfast to all the little convenient touches that make us Hampton. We should, undoubtedly, be ashamed of ourselves. I am sure we will all work tirelessly to find the appropriate punishment. Thank you sincerely for your post! From just one of the over 2,000 proud Hampton Inn’s, we thank you!

  18. Ben says:

    I shared this with my housekeeping team this morning. Thank you for uplifting us this morning! This is not exactly a business that runs on praise- so when we get it, it’s pretty important to us!

  19. Andrea says:

    I’m a front desk agent at a Hampton Inn. I’d like to aplogize for being so nice. I know it’s hard sometimes having someone understand that traveling is hard and it’s better with friendly people.

    I’ll do my best to impress you for the last time, again in the future, because we really do love having you here.

  20. Hilton Workerbee says:

    We SINCERELY appreciate the good feedback! And, we truly “love having you here”. Like Phil said, be prepared to be impressed 🙂 Thanks again from just a Hilton Worker-bee (corporate paper-pusher) 🙂

  21. Alex says:

    What Hampton Inn were you at so I can go there next time…

  22. hilton garden inn says:

    how rude i had worked for them for 6 yrs and know i work for Hilton Garden Inn way better then Hamptons

  23. joanjett says:

    I’m a front desk agent and I just want to again say thank you for making this job enjoyable, and I look forward in making your stay more enjoyable every time you stay @ the Hampton.

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