I’m back in Prescott Arizona for the next six days, to settle my son Zach into his new college. Zach is my youngest, and towering over me in both stature and confidence, he very obviously is no longer my “child.” This trip may be more of a needed transition for me than for him, for if I’m honest I will admit that there was no way I could have just waved goodbye at the airport, but that may be another post another day.
We returned to the same hotel I’d raved about the last time we were here, but this time our check-in experience was a bit different”
We landed in Phoenix at 7am, and although our flight went well and was pretty uneventful, I anticipated that Zach and I wouldn’t be in the best of shape after a 6-hour red-eye followed by a two hour drive north. So I had anted up for last night’s room rate too, to guarantee that we could check right in when we arrived. Both of us are not great at sleeping on planes, and if the room wasn’t ready we’d probably fall asleep on the couch in their lobby until one was.
I’d booked the room online weeks ago, entered the comment about being willing to pay for last night but not arriving until 10am today, and printed the confirmation. Last Friday I called to confirm; my note had somehow mysteriously disappeared, but “Not to worry Mrs. Say, I’ll enter it for you now.”
Can you guess where this may be going?
True to form, Zach wouldn’t even bother with the bags when I parked the rental car: “Let’s just grab the carry-ons mom, I’ll get the bags for you later; I’ve got to get some sleep.”
As we approach the front desk, the receptionist levels a wary eye at us and makes a very visible show of looking at her watch, “Are you checking in?” A hello would have been nice”
I’m ready for her. “Yes, the name is Say. Here is my credit card and confirmation.”
“Oh, I recognize your name, you were supposed to be here yesterday. You do know we charged you anyway. Well, I don’t know if we’ll have something for you now.” Zach groans and heads for the couch.
“That’s fine, you were supposed to charge me, that’s the way I booked it. As you can see here on the confirmation there is a note that we’d arrive at 10am today, and had protected the room with last night’s payment so we could check in immediately versus waiting for your 3pm check-in time.”
“Well, there’s no note about that in my system.”
Aloha Rosa, aloha ” hold your tongue and your temper” Smile. “Are you able to assign a room to us now please?” No answer, just a pointed stare at her computer screen.
The parking lot was half empty, and as I pulled in I realized I probably didn’t have to book last night. It was okay as I parked, for we had really enjoyed our last visit here. Now I’m bugged that I’m usually the one trying to make things easy on everyone else. Now I’m bugged that I’ll spend nearly a thousand bucks here before the week is over.
“Only if we put you on the second floor.” Well good, she obviously did get my request for a lobby level room.
“If it is a non-smoking room as we requested, that will be fine, thank you.”
She completes my check-in, hands me the key cards, and asks, “Have you stayed here before?” Guess that’s not in her system either.
“Yes, we have, just two months ago.”
“Okay.” No welcome back, no have a nice stay, nothing. The woman has not cracked a smile the entire time.
Why is it that people have this need to be right, instead of just doing the right thing for other people? Why try to teach your customer a lesson? What good will it do? Hey, even if you don’t care about the customer at all, why give yourself a miserable day in the process? Why not be mea ho‘okipa, a gracious hostess, and give your guest a reason to cheer for you, and a reason to appreciate you? A reason to be your biggest fan?
A guest who, while her son sleeps, is going to enjoy the free internet connection she also had booked the place for, and blog about what just happened to whoever in the world cares to read about it. After all, we don’t want them to be proven wrong if they wind up here too based on my first, premature recommendation.
Zach had the right idea. Maybe I should take a nap too.