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

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 tourist, I retired to my hotel room around 10pm. I hadn’t noticed that the hotel sat outside an open-air bar. Much to my disappointment, it turned into a rather rowdy and noisy open-air bar. Long story short, it wasn’t proving easy to sleep. I had a bad first experience at the hotel.

I sat in my room that night and started searching 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 my first night’s refund and check out a day early. But instead, 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 criticising 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 story’s moral is that, handled carefully and diligently, an organisation can turn a complaint around. The psychological 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 main memory of a bad experience. More companies realise the value of this, but so many still do not think of the importance of treating someone well on their way out. Instead, 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 choices, service standards, as we all know, can be a significant differentiator and a reason for a customer to stay loyal, or at least not actively encourage everyone around them not to use your company.

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