An example where a hotel turned a bad service experience into a good one

Posted on Dec 5, 2018

I booked a last minute weekend getaway and after spending some time researching hotels – I found one that suited my budget and needs.

When checking in, I was upgraded to a larger room – result! I thought.

After a long day being a tourists, I retired to my hotel room around 10pm. I hadn’t noticed that the hotel sat just outside an open air bar. Much to my disappointment, it turned into a rather rowdy and noisy open air bar. Long story short, it was proving difficult to sleep. I was having a bad first experience with the hotel.

Sat in my room that night, I started to search for alternative hotels for my second night. In my head, i’d already prepared the negative reviews I’d be leaving all over the internet.

In the morning, I stomped downstairs, prepared to ask for a refund of my first night and to check out a day early. I was determined to get out of there, even if I had nowhere else to go.

The reaction from the hotel caught me off-guard. They turned the experience around, empathising, apologising and offering me a new room in a quiet part of the hotel. Instead of berating them online, I’d now recommend them because of their service and how they handled my complaint. I left no negative reviews. Their reputation remained intact. I would even stay there again, just not in my first room.

The moral of the story is that handled carefully and diligently, a complaint can be turned around. The psychology principle of the peak-end rule can mean that a lost customer can become an advocate, or at least, not an angry one with a prominent memory of a bad experience. More companies are realising the value of this, but so many still do not think of the value of treating someone well on their way out. They believe that money, time and effort should be spent elsewhere. This is short-sighted as more people check reviews and ratings before tying into a company, service or product. In an industry with plenty of choice, service standards, as we all know can be a big differentiator and a reason for a customer to stay loyal, or at least, not actively encourage everyone around them not to use your company.