Leo’s travel journal

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Posts Tagged ‘Complaint

A letter… (part 2 – finale)

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So, after that letter was sent out, the Assistant General Manager of the hotel called and did his usual thing of apologizing, empathizing, etc…

His letter post-telephone call goes like this…

Dear Mr Lee,

Thank you for taking my call this morning and for allowing me the time to follow up on our recent email correspondence. As agreed I have summarized the details of our conversation in writing.

Firstly, I wanted to take the opportunity to respond by phone myself to offer both a thank you for the feedback and also a personal apology for the service you received.

It is very rare that we receive such a real and precise description from our guests and we have to admit that your complaint has made a big impression on us. We are strong believers that we have to put ourselves in the shoes of our guests in order to understand how we can improve our service levels. It is clear from your comments that you experienced several service failures during your stay.

We have shared your feed back and your disappointment both in the morning meeting with all departments as well discussing the comments in more detail with our operational department heads. I spent time highlighting the simple measures that could have been taken to ensure your stay was a pleasurable one. In addition I have also asked our training manager to incorporate your feedback letter into future service trainings to highlight how simple service exchanges can make or break a guests experience in the hotel.

As discussed we were surprised by the comments regarding check in and out as our Front Office department regularly scores high on friendliness although I can admit that on occasions there has been comments made regarding the friendliness of our concierge.

Thank you for the kind words regarding the service and personnel in the Club Lounge and also your experiences in Sheraton Amsterdam Airport and Sheraton Stockholm, after these interactions I hope Starwood can continue to count on your custom in the years to come.

Regarding the hotel, I know there is little I can say in this email that will prove to you that we have listened and acted upon your comments. The proof will be in the service you receive the next time you opt to stay with us and I hope that will be soon.

In the meantime if there is anything further I can help you with please do not hesitate to contact me.

Warm regards

And my reply to this one was…

Dear Mr. X,

Thank you for your call and subsequent mail.

Your response has been most prompt and it addresses the underlying issue of service that I had the unfortunate chance to experience, to a certain extend.

As mentioned, not everyone who writes in are looking for compensation (in this case, points) unlike the multitude of cases that you encounter.

Subsequently, I was dismayed and rather insulted with such letter by your property’s first correspondence that evidently came across as a “copy and paste” job. This added salt to the wound, the fact that no one in the hotel took my remarks seriously; hence my detailed reply.

Some just state their points and do not return – I believe I am one of those.

As far as I am concerned, I have voiced my experience and dissatisfaction and have received a satisfactory response from the hotel representative (you, to be exact).

I therefore consider this matter to be done and over with. Time will tell whether I will choose to return to the your hotel.  For the moment at least, the company’s and my personal selection of hotels in Brussels will exclude your property.

Mr. X, thank you once again for your personal intervention in this matter.

I wish you a pleasant day ahead.


Thanks for reading!



Written by Leo

23 October 2009 at 23:39

A letter…

with 2 comments

A little letter to the hotel that warranted a call from the Assistant General Manager this afternoon… 🙂

Dear Ms. X,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me with regards to my recent stay with your hotel last month.

Whilst there was nothing wrong with the physical condition of the hotel and my stay in general, it is my opinion that the hotel management ought to look into the attitude of your staff members, in particular your front desk and concierge team.

The insolence of your staff members coupled with the stand-off’ish attitudes that I have encountered is certainly unbecoming of any reputable hotel, let alone a Starwood and least expected in an international city like Brussels.

Is it possible that your concierge asked me to locate your bellman in the other end of the lobby in order to claim my luggage when he is at the counter doing nothing and the luggage storage is just behind him?

Is it possible that your front desk personnel allow guests to cut the queue at the reception counter and when asked, offered no explanation or apologies but reply with an indignant “I have better things to do than to explain myself to you” face?

Is it possible at 0800hrs on a weekday, your hotel – one of the leading business hotels in the centre of the European government and in the middle of down-town Brussels do not even have a copy of English newspapers for guests / SPG Platinum members / club room residents? A curt “No” to my request was the answer.

Is it possible that your housekeeping staff members do not reply a simple “bonjour/bonsoir” when greeted along the corridors?

These are just a few examples of attitude issues that I can think of at the moment. Coming “home” to a hotel with no friendliness and all that attitude certainly makes me think twice about staying at your hotel, let alone recommend it to my colleagues and friends.

I may understand that the lack of warmth may be a cultural issue and that I may have been “spoilt” by the excellent services accorded in the course of my stays with the various St. Regis, Westin and Sheratons. But if you have an opportunity to look at my stay patterns, I stay mainly in Starwood hotels in Europe and have not, at any point face service levels lacking basic manners like these.

I am not here to preach on what I, as a guest expect – expectations are highly subjective. All I am trying to put through is that we are, at the end of the day guests – not fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters or other family members to share your staff members’ troubles and/or show attitude to. Your staff members are there for only one reason – to do their jobs with reasonable manners and decency; that’s the bottom line.

I understand that at the end of the day like other businesses, profitability is what matters for the hotel. Perhaps the hotel is doing so well so as to neglect the fundamentals of service.

As such, I will vote with my wallet and have advised my company’s travel coordinator to avoid the your hotel for all future company travels.

Additionally, I will not accept your free “goodwill” Starpoints as a matter of principle.

Personally, I am clear on which hotel I will NOT stay at on my next trip to Brussels – and possibly my change of loyalty programme come 2010 to some other reputable chain of hotels.


And the initial email that brought it on…

Dear Mr. Lee,

Thank you very much for staying with us last month.

We have received your completed electronic questionnaire with some additional feed back about your stay in the Sheraton Brussels Hotel.

From your earlier feed back we realize that you have experienced some poor service performances with some member of our staff at the front desk. We are very sensible about the disappointing you have expressed about the staff attitude. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Your comments have been brought to the attention of those concerned.

We appreciate how upsetting this situation must have been for you and as a gesture of goodwill; we will credit your SPG account with 3000 extra free points.

Dear Mr. Lee, you are a very important client to us and we highly appreciate your business; once again, thank you very much for having shared your comments with us. We will do our outmost to give you a personalized overall experience and we really sincerely hope to welcome you back to the Sheraton Brussels Hotel.

Very kind regards,

Ms. X

Written by Leo

22 October 2009 at 16:22