Yesterday I was traveling to see a customer in the Midlands.  You know the score - morning train, cab straight to the customer office, all day workshop, cab to hotel, check in at hotel and dump bag, 15 minute turn around to answer urgent emails then out to dinner with the customer.  It’s at that point of the day when I reached the “check in at hotel and dump bag” where the customer experience collapsed.

Arriving at the hotel about 6.15pm I was greeted with a reception desk manned by 1 poor receptionist - and a long queue.  3 spare terminals but only 1 receptionist.   My 15 minute turnaround was looking shaky.  Why, at the busiest time of day for check in, do hotels not staff their check in desks to the max?  I saw the poor guy pressing the emergency bell under the desk to call colleagues but nobody appeared.

When I finally reached the front of the queue, my mood now decidedly darkened, I asked why he was the only member of staff on duty.  His response “I’ve no idea, I’ve called for colleagues to help but nobody has come.  But I will be fine to do it on my own”.  Well having waited several minutes I didn’t share his optimism as the hotel had already failed me.  The meet and greet is a defining moment that matters in the customer journey, moving from booking to reality.  To compound matters he asked me “Have you stayed with us here before?” This is another bug bear of mine and happens frequently.  Surely if the hotel has the right CRM solution it will show on the receptionists screen that you have stayed before or if you are a newbie then they can greet you accordingly.

This delay meant calls to rearrange rendezvous times with customers and colleagues and rescheduling a restaurant booking.  All first world problems I hear you say, but frustrating none the less.

And don't even get me started on the mini bar prices.  £2 for a Wispa bar?  It's no wonder I saw Deliveroo turning up with meals for other guests when I headed out, thus removing further revenue from the hotel coffers.    

The ironic part?  When I returned to the hotel at 11.30pm after a lovely dinner with my customer the reception desk was fully manned with 4 staff and no customers.  Really.  Come on.

So I checked in…..and checked out.