It wasÂ a glorious feeling when I clickedÂ on the OK button and instantly received a note with a confirmation number. Seconds laterÂ my email program notifiedÂ me of incoming mail. It was official – my room at the W Hotel in Seattle, WA had been confirmed.Â
My confirmation email thanked me for booking with them and asked me questions – “What is the purpose of my visit? Is it for a special occasion? Do I have any questions or concerns regarding my upcoming visit?” The email also suggested that I contact them to tell them about my upcoming visit so that they can better serve me during my stay.
Obviously, thisÂ was an auto-generated message that is sent out to all their clients. Regardless, for the 45 seconds that it took me to read the message, I felt pretty darn special.
A few days before my arrival, I received another email. The hotelÂ told me that they were looking forward to my arrival. A hotel has never been so excited to receive me. The excitement is infectious and I found myself in giddy anticipation for my upcoming stay.
The day of check-inÂ arrived and IÂ was in high spirits. As I followed the instructions on my GPS, I pulled up to the front entrance of the hotel. To my confusion, the curb side of the front entrance was also a bus stop. There wasÂ no valet in sight and no signage to direct us elsewhere. IÂ was left with no choice but to go inside the hotel to inquire about the valet and loading zone.
As there were no hotel personnel by the front door, I found myself in line at the front desk to ask for directions. ThereÂ was 1 person behind the counter. As customers in front of meÂ were being attended to, I waited anxiously whilst my car waited patiently in a bus zone. When I finally got to the front of the line,Â the front desk personnel tells me that the loading area is on the side street. Huh.
As I made my way around to the side,Â the valet parking sign for the hotel comes into sight. I pulled over. I peered out my window, searching for someone… anyone, to come to my assistance. ItÂ was raining heavily. I started to wonder if there wereÂ any other hotel personnel working. The waiting gameÂ wore me out and I resorted to carrying all my bags, one by one, in the pouring rain, into the hotel. Struggling withÂ my bags, I finally pushed my way through the doors and made my way up to the front desk. The front desk personnel seemed to be indifferent to my state of frustration. Oh well. Furthermore,Â we ended upÂ parking our car in the public parking lot next door. Why? Nobody showed up to valet our car. Nobody even asked if we had a car to valet. Nobody seemed to care. Huh.
The W Hotel chain provides car service to their guests. That is, they drive you…” whenever, wherever”. Upon trying to book a car to dinner one night, I was informed by the concierge that their car service ended at 5pm. So NOT “whenever”. Huh.
During my stay, I had made a couple of visits to the concierge desk. I didn’t get the sense that they were offering “whatever” I wished for. My questions were answered perfunctorily. No more, no less. There were no suggestions offered. While the pre-arrival emails made me feel like a VIP, I began to feel just like another hotel guest… in another hotel – and certainly not the W Hotel. Not so special after all. Huh.
I began to wonder if the W Seattle could live up to the W reputation. Having visited other W hotels throughout the world – most notably in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong, I can attest to the fact that the level of customer service did not compare. Perhaps my expectations were too high?
Upon my return home, I received an email from the W Seattle. It was from the General Manager (GM) of the hotel.
“Thank you for your stay at W Seattle. Was your stay Wonderful? Was the service fabulous? We’d like to know if anything was less than perfect. We’re genuinely interested in hearing about your experience, and how we can fulfill your wishes in the future…”
I had not planned on writing anything to the hotel as I did have an overallÂ satisfactory experience.Â However,Â this last email prompted me to offer my opinions and experience.Â I sat down to compose a detailed letter about my stay – remarking on my good experiences as well as reporting on my disappointing ones.
3Â months have passed now and I haven’t received any correspondence in response to my email. Was my email received? I wasn’t expecting an email from the GM himself but some sort of acknowledgment from a hotel staff member would have sufficed. How valuable can a customer’s comments be if the hotel doesn’t even have the courtesy to respond?
There is nothing more disappointing than a “no response” from a company that solicits comments from their customers. It’s important for businesses to understand that their customers take time out of their schedule to submit their feedback.
Although the W chain of hotels have a wonderful marketing strategy, the concept sems to fall weak in its execution.
To the W Seattle – Perhaps you could send an acknowledgment email to the guests who offer their comments? You seem to be efficient at sending auto generated emails. Perhaps generate another one? That is “my wish”.
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