Needs are evident att Hilton Garden Inn!
by William M. - Posted Wed May 4, 2011 @ 12:00 PM
I am a Hilton HHonors member (#xxxx) that normally respects the Hilton brand and the quality of service standards they usually hold to.
I had the opportunity to take a 2000 mile trip with my family(from upstate NY to mid-Florida) over the last couple of weeks in April of 2011. The Hilton Garden Inn located in Roanoke Rapids, NC, is situated just about at the halfway point, and because I am a HHonors member, and like staying with Hilton, I made reservations to stay here in the 2 queen suite on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011. The reservation confirmation number was xxxx. We left our home in NY around 4AM and arrived at the hotel in NC around 3:00-3:30PM. The girl at the front desk advised me that they could not accommodate my initial request for an earlier check-in (which would have been a whole 30 minutes at that point), and directed me to go "eat dinner" to kill time while they got the room ready. We were tired, but also hungry, so we drove back one exit for food, and then returned (around 5?) to officially "check in". I didn't think 30 minutes was asking too much, but perhaps this was a taste of things to come...
We really, really liked our room. It provided us with the space my family needed (my wife and I, my adult sister in law, and my 3 children- ages 14, 5, and 3) at the appropriate "break point" of our long journey. We loved the bathroon, the tub, the kitchen area, and the dining room table. A truly excellent experience. The pool was great, the hot jacuzzi tub too (apparently though, someone had previously put soap of some kind in it and it was ultimately shut down for maintenance to clear the massive amounts of soap bubbles). We even dropped in to the hotel bar for a quiet visit alone (wife and I)and found the waitress/ bartender on evening of Tuesday 4/19/11 to be very considerate and personable. Kudos!
In fact, we liked the hotel so much that for our return trip (scheduled for Friday, April 29th), I made another reservation (again with HHonors) around 9:00 AM on Thursday, 4/28/11, to book the same room, calling the hotel direct from Florida. I was advised the same room was indeed available, and my new reservation confirmation number was/is xxxxx. I SPECIFICALLY advised them that we were travelling quite a distance from Florida, and would not be arriving until the wee hours of Saturday morning. They advised that they had put this note on my reservation and everything would be all set when I arrived. I asked if it were possible to get a later checkout since we would be arriving so late, and they granted a noon checkout (1 hour more) for Saturday 4/30/11. I was also under the impression that they were putting this reservation on the same credit card/ with the same information I had initially used for the 4/19/11 stay.
We left Florida early afternoon on Friday 4/29/11 and arrived in Roanoke Rapids around 3:15-3:30AM Saturday morning, 4/30/11. I entered the hotel after "rousing" the night clerks with the intercom button, and approached the desk to check in. I was greeted by Antonio. After I gave him my name, he checked computer and simply said, "there are no 2 queen suites available". I said "yes, I have an HHonors reservation, here is the number, I spoke with this hotel a couple days ago". He mumbled something about overbooking and suggested maybe I could take a king suite. "The thing is", he said, "that has one King bed and a pullout sofa". I told him I have 6 people in my party- they are all exhausted and in the car." I got a blank unsympathetic stare from Antonio, then he gazed down at his computer and said nothing. I continued to keep eye contact until he looked back up, expecting to be given some sort of resolution options from him. Nothing. He looked at me as if to say "what do you want?", and I had to offer the solution (which really should have been the other way around) of perhaps taking a 2 queen standard room and a rollaway? He said "we have no rollaways" and looked back down to avoid eye contact. Finally when he looked back up, I simply said "what are my options, Antonio?". He said, "well you could do like you said and take the 2 queen standard room. Or you could take the King Suite, with one bed and a pullout, which doesn't really work for you..."....While I'm processing this information (remember- it's 3:30AM), he says, "you could drive a little bit further up or down I-95 and find another hotel, in which case we would waive the cancellation fee".
Now I'm starting to get annoyed. I say, "whoa whoa, back up- you will "waive the cancellation fee"????" Antonio says, "yes we have a 24 hour cancellation policy...but we would waive that if you decide to go elsewhere".
It was like a NEEDLE SCRATCHING OFF A RECORD AT THIS POINT. I reply, "why would you even MENTION that, like you're doing me a favor? YOU gave away our room, YOU did not "honor" (ironic?) my reservation, YOU offer no restitution of any kind for the inconvenience you caused, and then you have the audacity to even MENTION the thought of a potential cancellation fee???"
It's 3:30 in the morning. I have young, tired, and cranky kids (not to mention the adults) in the car. I've been driving all afternoon and night to get to this Hilton Garden Inn. And THIS is how you treat a customer- not to mention an HHonors member customer??? I felt disrespected, insignificant, and frankly a bother to Antonio. I do not want to go on a search for another hotel at 3:30AM. I tell Antonio I will take the 2 queen standard (is it even legal to put 6 people in a 2 queen standard room???) At this point I just want a room- any room- to crash in.
Then my sister-in-law is given looks by the night staff of "why are you bothering us?", when she requires assistence to get in the front door to the lobby (the door is locked after a certain time and there is a trick to using your room key to open it- or use the intercom call button)
Hilton did not treat me with "Honor", they did not attempt to make amends, or provide any sort of compensation for the trouble they caused. Did I like the standard room? Sure. it was adequate. We all found a crowded spot to sleep in the room. I would have liked the original suite I reserved, and I certainly would have liked being given the respect and service that I've come to expect from a name like Hilton.
The Hilton Garden Inn in Roanoke Rapids NC fell way short of that on 4/29/11.
And- to boot- I don't even think my HHonors account was credited with points of any kind- for either stay.
Simply, it leaves me with a bad all around taste..
Am I wrong to feel slighted by the Hilton brand?
Based on this experience, here is what I'd like Hilton to do:
1) Please train your night crew on the importance of quality customer interactions, what to expect when weary customers arrive and are given bad news. Don't adopt an "oh well" attitude, and "we don't know who made the error, so the error must not have occured.", "deal with it" defensive stance. Empower them to be PROACTIVE in customer interactions, not just REACTIVE. Frankly I would have been a lot happier customer if Antonio had just said, "look, we're very sorry for what happened with your suite. Why don't you enjoy complimentary breakfast in our restaurant in the morning?" (the small kids would have been free anyway)
2) Please check my HHonors account. Ensure that the appropriate points were awarded for these stays. Provide me with complimentary points or s future stay, to restore my positive impression with the Hilton as a brand.