Over the last week I have been blogging about customer service experiences during a family trip along the Great Ocean Road. I am now back in Melbourne and am staying at the Travelodge Docklands, which is my usual hotel of choice when in Melbourne. I stay here because of the location primarily, but also due to the newness of the hotel and usual good service that meets my unpretentious needs. I am a simple traveller, as long as I have a nice clean and tidy room with a good bed and good location I am happy. I have stayed here many times, and have had good experiences all times- except for my last one.
During the Boxing Day test, I was in Melbourne and again stayed here. Location was still good, as it hadn’t moved, I didn’t need room service, breakfast or anything else, but there was an issue with some cleaning which I won’t go into to. I left it hoping to be asked upon checkout about my stay, where I would have mentioned it, but the opportunity didn’t arise, so I flew back home with a slight bit of disappointment, but no bitter or ill feel about the place.
As is normal practice, the Toga group send out a third party email feedback form after my stay so I mentioned my concern in this forum and didn’t expect any response.
I was wrong…..
The very next day, James the Manager made contact with me asking for more information of which I provided. Our emails went back and forth for a while, with immediate replies and then I mentioned I would be back in Melbourne this week with my family.
James made the offer to give them another try at a very good rate for their 2 bedroom apartment which would accomodate my family, so I accepted and based on prior good experiences, decided another chance was necessary.
Today I checked in, and I must say the accomodation I have been given is absolutely amazing. The room is beautiful, fully equipped with all the features of a home and the kids love it (mostly due to the fact that they have their own TV!). I cannot do justice to describe this room, and without even knowing this accomodation exisited in this hotel (it is not even on a listed floor in the elevator, but one more up- so a secret room as far as the kids are concerned). I will certianly look to book this again if I am here with my family or a larger group!
My point of sharing is very simple and the Docklands Travelodge, and James deserve recognition. I didn’t make comment to get anything for free, and didn’t get the room for free, but his immediate response and sense of doing whatever it took to get a regular client back to his hotel has not gone un-noticed. I will continue to patronise this hotel, and will tell this story to many people, not jsut via this blog, but when I talk about my stay, so the word of mouth positive feedback will be huge.
It really isn’t that hard to turn an opportunity into a positve outcome and this hotel has certainly done this, and in the process has created a ‘raving fan’. Something that Marketing budgets and plans cannot replicate! In the world of instant feedback and social media, many venues choose to ignore cases of feedback or criticism and this then snowballs, but the Docklands Travelodge has taken the opportunity head on and in the process won me over. It’s a pity others can’t be as proactive.
Thank you James and Thank You Travelodge….I look forward to the next couple of nights in your hotel with the family.
As usual I relate what I hear back to my industry – web design and development – and it’s a sad fact that the kind of service you just described is pretty rare here. It’s a bad thing for clients, but I try to look at it as another opportunity to stand out in this ultra-crowded space.
If you provide the service and do what it takes to satisfy, then you will defiantely stand out! There are plenty of negative examples compared with the good ones, so always good to share the ones (and name them) when they make a bad situation good.
As another side point, I met with the manager today and he was the nicest guy possible and completely gets the whole satisfaction thing and has a passion of going above and beyond. His point was that more than often people don’t give them the chance to rectify.
It’s funny that you mention the manager’s personality – it seems that someone’s personality is a larger driving factor for customer service than their business philosophy. I’ve never met a business owner/manager that’s a jerk but provides great customer service, have you?
Btw, I moved to my own domain and am posting there now:
Have a good weekend!
Definately John, and No I haven’t seen too many business people who provide great service while being the so called ‘jerk’. Thanks for the notice on the new blog domain too.
This is a perfect example of comparison between today’s social media and the previous version of this.. word of mouth..
Thanks for sharing Tony.