Recently, while attempting to book a two night stay online with a major hotel chain using a combination of reward points and a car association discount rate, I discovered I could either book both nights using points (of which I had enough for one but not both nights) or using the discount rate, but not one night using each.
My assumption was that this was merely a case of the automated reservation system having some limitations so I called the hotel reservations call center. The first line agent was unable to help so I requested to be escalated to the next level of authority. The senior agent had no better luck but was kind enough to contact the location directly and spoke with the manager on duty. At the end of the process, it was determined that this was simply not a feasible booking. Neither the senior agent nor the hotel manager appeared to have the motivation or authority to make an exception or to attempt to “sweeten the pill” in any fashion (in spite of the fact that the hotel chain has received a significant amount of business from me over the last decade).
Rather than accept one of the two standard options I chose to go elsewhere.
So who lost?
While I might have preferred to stay at this chain’s location, there were other hotels in close proximity so I was quite happy to take my business to them. On the other hand, the hotel chain lost the revenue from at least one night and now has a frequent traveler who will be considering other options before going to them in the future.
Do your staff try to do the right thing, or try to do process right?
Have you empowered your staff to be able to override default processes when it makes sense and if not, do they have the flexibility to be able to recover customer satisfaction in some other manner?