Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Intercontinental Hotels Priority Club

I've been working away over the last month (which is why my posts have been silent). My temporary home was the Holiday Inn near Ipswich. It felt like a long time and clearly it was, because yesterday the parent group Intercontinental Hotels upgraded me to Gold Elite Status - which you earn after 15 nights as a member of their loyalty programme.

'Have a Free Night on Us' announced one of the too many flyers scattered around the room. 'Stay 2 nights and have the third on us'. I never had time to read the small print or discover exactly how many free nights I might have earned to my account.

I did get a free night though, in fact not just 1, but 8.

On Easter Monday, at 10.45pm just as my team was heading for bed, we were perturbed to see a coach load of guests arrive for a party in the bar. By 3am there was a considerable disturbance in the hotel among some of the more drunken guests, kicking bedroom doors. I telephoned the duty manager and explained that if he didn't quieten things down I would call the police. He begged me not to do this and in return he agreed that the manager would meet me in the morning.

At 07.30 I met the duty manager and explained that we had checked in on the holiday so as to be rested for an early start. I pointed out that the hotel had made a commercial decision that they preferred to take the bar revenue from a coach load of revellers than the room revenue for 8 paying guests. At what time did they imagine a bar party which only began at 10.45 might end?

Later that morning the manager's PA telephoned me to offer my party dinner by way of apology. I politely but firmly declined. I explained that it was a good night's sleep which we paid for, and as the hotel failed to provide it nothing less than a full refund for all 8 of our group would satisfy. To their credit the Holiday Inn agreed.

I hope the previous night's bar profit outstripped the £450 loss to their room revenue account.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

On The Buses

The First 757 from Glasgow airport - promotional picture.
No the service doesn't actually depart direct from the plane stand...

Public transport is much maligned and certainly there is a lot wrong with it. The bus network in Glasgow, where I'm working at the moment, is especially unfathomable.

But First Buses surprised me today with their customer service. Yesterday morning I took the airport 757 service to the Scottish Exhibition Centre (SECC). The driver was unable to reach the final destination because of newly erected long-term roadworks. Instead, apologising as he did so, he dropped me some distance away.

Taking their customer service number from the bus shelter I phoned First and reported the problem. They said they were unaware of it and would investigate.
When I told my colleagues I had complained to First buses they raised their eyes in some astonishment that I might expect anything to happen. In truth I must say I didn't really expect to hear from First again.

Early this morning First phoned to thank me, to explain that the driver had also reported the problem, and describe how the diversion around the roadworks has been altered to accommodate their turning buses.

So well done First, you have silenced the cynics.