I recently stayed at the Marriott hotel in downtown Durham, North Carolina while traveling on business. There were signs plastered all over the hotel about the hotel’s “Whatever It Takes” initiative for making their guests comfortable. Shortly after my arrival, I went down to the front desk to ask if they had any Advil or such, since I had a bad headache.
The answer I was hoping for was, “Certainly, sir, here you go.”
The answer which would have shown they were serious about “Whatever It Takes” would have been, “I’m afraid we’re all out right now, but if you can wait a little while, I’ll send someone out to get some for you and send it up to your room.”
Unfortunately, the answer I actually got was, “I’m afraid we’re all out right now. If you’d like, you can wait until our shuttle gets back, and then the shuttle driver can take you over to a gas station where you can buy some.”
Why couldn’t the hotel handle the simple task of keeping in stock the sundries they keep on hand to satisfy common guest requests?
Barring that, why couldn’t they send the shuttle driver out to get the Advil for me, rather than making me waste my time going with him when what I really wanted to do was lie down because of my headache?
I’ve sent a complaint about this to Marriott corporate through their Web site, but I don’t honestly expect any sort of meaningful answer from them about it.
A day or two ago, I got this letter from the Durham Marriott:
August 2, 2006
It’s nice that they responded and acknowledged that they screwed up. I could get alll snarky and pick apart all the punctuation and grammar errors in the letter, as well as pointing out how silly it seems to offer someone a “free breakfast” as if that’s such a grand prize, but it’s pretty late at night and I’ve much to do, so I’ll try to resist.
Nope, I can’t completely resist. There’s one comment I want to make. When my family visited Israel recently, we stayed for a couple of nights in Tel Aviv at the Dan Panorama, a much nicer hotel than the Durham Marriott, located right on the beach. Included in our room rate weas an astoundingly varied, all-you-can-eat breakfast. The room rate was lower than the rate I paid at the Durham Marriott, which did not include breakfast.
There was a time when even the best hotels in Israel simply couldn’t compare to a run-of-the-mill business hotel in the United States. The Israelis simply hadn’t figured out how to do the whole decent-customer-service thing. It would appear that that time is soundly over.