This is a brand that should have everything going for it. You walk into the lobby and it's all elegant and pretentious. Its web site makes it look luxurious. But expensive hotels somehow always seem to fail at the most essential elements of branding.
My room, going for almost $250 a night, was no better than a discount hotel — despite having three different kinds of marble in the bathroom.
|And a gross wallpaper stain.|
Branding is all about the smallest details of the brand experience. And Fairmont screwed it up by failing to splurge $12 on a new alarm clock.
How long has it been since you've seen a putty-tone digital clock like that? You could see its age on the discoloured plastic:
|Can anyone interpret the date code?|
I complained, and they offered to send up a new one. I opted for a wakeup call the next day.
And then came my hand "express checkout" receipt under the door.
That's right. They charged me twice for "daily" wifi on the same day.
I already have huge issues with higher end hotels charging for something that motels and discount inns give away (along with breakfast, etc.) But charging me twice?
I took it down to the front desk, and asked WTF? The rather surly concierge told me it was policy to charge per device. I had checked in on both an iPad and iPhone. I was on expenses, so I really just wanted confirmation that it was policy.
She took the charges off anyway, but right next to me my colleague was arguing with them about charging for parking. We had arrived (and were about to leave) by train.
As a business traveller, you (or rather, employer and/or client) pay big bucks not to have to deal with this shit.
Hospitality branding, whether you're an independent business inn or a grande dame hotel, is pretty easy to get right: You just put yourself in your guest's shoes, and make sure that every detail of their stay is up to the expectations your marketing and reputation have set. Make sure the alarm clock is not a grubby, non-functional hairband-era artifact. Make essential business services all-inclusive—or at least don't make them an excuse for annoying overcharging. And treat the guest like they're welcome.
Why is this so often screwed up? I'd love to hear your own similar experiences.
|The view, however, was nice.|