Hotel hopping, the importance of managing expectations, and the power of Twitter

Back in April I asked for advice as to whether or not it makes sense to hotel hop when traveling alone internationally for vacation. I received mixed responses, though in the end decided to hotel hop. I decided to spend the first night at the InterContinental, the second night at the Le Meridien, and the third night at the InterContinental again.

What’s in it for me? Well, if I had done all three nights at the InterContinental I would have received 6,000 points (at least), since InterContinental awards the same number of points for stays regardless of how long they are. So instead of earning 6,000 points I’ll be earning 12,000 points, plus Starwood points, plus one credit towards Starwood’s current promotion.

My stay at the InterContinental last night was spectacular. And I mean spectacular, which I wasn’t expecting given the all-in rate of $120 including tax. As soon as the check-in agent saw that I was a Royal Ambassador she quite literally thanked me 30 times for my loyalty, and called over the guest relations manager. He escorted me to my room for in-room check-in, and then even brought me up to the lounge. He even called me twice during the stay to make sure everything was good.

The club lounge staff were equally phenomenal. Last night one of the club lounge attendants asked me by what name I would like to be addressed, and I said “Ben” was fine. As I walked in the lounge this morning, she said “good morning Mr. Ben.” Perhaps they’re just a bit too attentive, actually.


Canapes at the InterContinental

Then this afternoon I meandered on over to the Le Meridien. I booked the stay this morning, since I couldn’t decide whether to stay at the Westin or Le Meridien. The rate was more than I wanted to pay, but still made it worthwhile to mattress run.

After a 20 minute cab ride to the Le Meridien I was escorted to the club lounge, where the agent processed my check-in. She informed me that I was being upgraded to a suite, which was great. After all, this was my first stay as a Starwood Platinum. She added, however, that it would only be ready by 5PM at the latest, giving me the option of otherwise staying in a corner room which would be ready immediately. I said I’d be happy to wait, as I needed to get some work done anyway and the club lounge was a nice enough environment in which to work.

After a while I decided to go for a bit of a walk down the hallway, and eventually decided to take a peak outside, and the staircase presented that opportunity since it was outside. So out I schlepped with my bags, I took a couple of pictures (the views were quite nice, actually), and was ready to go back inside. The door wouldn’t open. Look, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking… I’m an absolute moron. It has been years since I’ve used a hotel’s stairs, and clearly I thought this one out about as well as Donald Trump’s decision to even consider running for president. Fine, I figured it was because it was the club floor, so I schlepped down a level with my bags, in hopes that that door would open. Nope, no such luck.

Long story short, I show up in the lobby 20 minutes later looking like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away,” with a shirt probably soaked in ten pounds of sweat. Yeah, I learned my lesson.

I then went to the front desk to check the status of my room, at it was 5:15PM… 15 minutes after the time the agent promised my room would be ready by. This agent apathetically informed me that my room would only be ready at 7PM, explaining that the guests occupying the room before me had just checked out, and that the room had “defects.”

She then asked if I wanted a corner room instead, telling me that was the normal upgrade they give Platinum members, and also reminding me I had only booked the morning of (not sure of the relevance of either of those points). I explained that I had waited two hours for the suite, and that I would have taken a corner room earlier if I had known the wait would be so long. But at this point I didn’t want a corner room, given that I had already waited for over two hours. It’s a function of managing guest expectations — don’t tell someone they’ll get a suite in less than two hours, and then have it be four hours, especially for a one night stay. At the very least, offer me a “holding room,” where I can freshen up, and offer to call me when the suite opens up.

I then headed up to the club lounge for canapes, which were very good, and decided to Tweet (I find Twitter to be a fantastic tool for venting, much like this blog). Six minutes after my Tweet the Director of Sales appeared with room keys, apologizing profusely. Gosh, I love Twitter.

The suite itself is lovely, as is the whole hotel. I just wish I wouldn’t have had to wait four hours anticipating it. And after that stairs ordeal, I think it’s time I hop in the shower.

Expect a post shortly about my first day in Kuala Lumpur. From Chuck Norris, to asking me if I color my hair, to inviting me over for dinner to meet your sister, Malaysians know how to start a conversation.

Comments

  1. Hmmmm, wonder if they have improved Ambassador service as a result of feedback or whether they only extend it to RAs and not us lowly Ambassadors. Certainly wasnt the cast a month ago during both my stays. The staff in the lounge are brilliant and food were great during my stay too.

  2. I was pretty happy with my lowly Amb benefit – upgrade from Club to Suite was nice. From Deluxe to Club would be even better value (rather then higher floor offered via email), but I didn’t push.

  3. I had an issue w/checkin @ Andaz Wall during my stay (took 15 min to get a host to recognize us). Not more than 5 minutes later the AGM showed up….

  4. Why not leave the bags with the bell desk? Have them deliver the bags when the room is ready?

  5. Loved your post Ben. I feel you on really wanting the suite after waiting so long. “Tom Hanks in Cast away”…too funny:)!

  6. What makes you think that your tweet made the room key dleiver promptly? Think that is a conclusion based on thin air? Or did the Director of Sales specifically mention something regarding your tweet?

    I have been in similar situations as well and found that if you push at front desk they will put two or three ppl on cleaning, thus having your room ready in a short(er) timeframe.

  7. @ jsgoldbe — Because I desperately needed a shower. Beyond that, I really don’t feel comfortable leaving my laptop bag with anyone. It has my whole life in it, and some stuff I’d just prefer to keep in a safe.

    @ Ken — Because he responded to me on Twitter four minutes after I tweeted, and as he approached me started with “I saw your tweet…” Good enough? šŸ˜‰

  8. What made you decide on the LM vs the Westin? What about the Sheraton Imperial? (I want go with an SPG property for an upcoming 2 nights in KL and have no idea which to go with…)

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