I was on my travels again last week. On Thursday I was speaking at the Chartered Management Institute annual conference in Leicester. As I was travelling on to London the next day, the CMI very kindly arranged for me to stay at the local Lenny Henry Inn (Names have been changed to protect the innocent, but UK television viewers will know the chain concerned).
The lovely Carla checked me in and this delightful woman couldn’t have been more helpful if she tried. First off we discovered that her system did not show me booked in for dinner as part of the deal. “No matter”, said Carla, “we deal with the CMI all the time, so I’ll give you a voucher and I’ll sort it out with them tomorrow. You just go and relax.”
“Wow, thanks,” said I. “Could I get and Iron and ironing board as well? I need to iron a shirt.”
“You can”, replied Carla, “but if it’s just a shirt, Ican do it for you.”
I declined, but what a service!
Unfortunately my experience when I booked into a hotel in London the next day couldn’t be more different.
Again I won’t name names but it rhymes the Pravel Hodge
Want to check in before 3pm? £10. Want to check out after 9am? £10. Want us to mind your luggage? £5. Want to come down six floors to borrow an iron? 30 minutes max, then a £5 penalty. What next? Want a bed……? I spent most of my stay holding my breath for fear I’d be charged for inhaling!
Now, I understand low-cost business models, but I object when people are just taking the Mickey. I was also intrigued to notice how much time reception staff spent explaining these ridiculous charges to disgruntled guests. Surely the cost of their time far exceeds any income generated by early check-in fees or left luggage charges.
From now on I shall vote with my wallet and would advise you to do the same!