On our recent vacation with two other families, we took a trip up to Malacca and stayed at a really nice hotel in town that is flanked by a couple of malls. I won’t name the hotel, because I don’t want them to improve on some of the things I am writing about. Tiny loopholes that benefited us when we stayed there.
The three families sat in the hotel’s premier lounge which was reserved for those staying in premier rooms. Well, one of the three families did stay in one of these rooms. Free drinks – juices, coffee and tea – throughout the day and special tea time snacks in the late afternoon that is all free. When I first stepped into the lounge, I was surprised by the noise level and the crowd in the lounge.
I commented to my friends that I was surprised that they did not check if the people were guests from their premier rooms. One replied, “would you have preferred that they checked?”. Well, if I have no right being there, of course not. But if I had paid extra and found out that most others did not, I would be upset. I have been to other hotels with premier lounges and they were generally quite strict about who can eat and drink for free. And we were happy to comply as there were clear rules. At my Malacca hotel, we spent most of our times at the lounge, when we are not outside the hotel, in our rooms or not in the pool.
Incident two – breakfast. Our rooms came with two paid breakfasts. Kids will have to pay half price. On our first breakfast, we discovered a loophole. Because the hotel was completely full, they set up a separate breakfast area in their grand ballroom. Because of the lack of administration, they just ask for our room numbers and we can freely sit and eat. No extra charges for the kids.
The second morning, I had breakfast at the restaurant and I noticed that they kept everything by the rules, charging every extra person accordingly.
So, how do these equate to good customer service and making good business sense? In order to have good customer service, there needs to be very clear processes that are followed through. Customers understand the processes and most would happily comply when they are clear. In the case of the hotel, if they had followed through at the Premier Lounge, the staff can provide more personalised service by getting to know their guests. And if they do not belong there, they could either be ushered out, recommend that they upgrade their rooms or charge them for food and drinks they consume.
Same thing with breakfast, if they had set up their processes in the grand ballroom room as well as in the restaurant, they would ensure that all guests be treated equally.
Personally, I am happy to pay for the extras if I had to, but at the same time, I like the loopholes they have provided for our enjoyable stay.