Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Long Trip...And Some Complaints

I work for a hotel company, and am generally lucky enough to stay at our hotels. On those occasions when I'm not able, I'm always curious to see what's ahead of me. On a recent trip, it was one thing after another that disappointed me. Here's a few of them:

- The lack of robes in the room (isn't one of the best parts of being in a hotel the plush robes you get to use?)

- Lack of in-room recycling bin (I must have killed a tree with the amount of conference papers I tossed)

- No mini-fridge/honor bar was appalling (I don't really NEED any of that stuff, but I want the comfort of knowing that a midnight chocolate craving could be met if need be.)

- The room was dark, and although I would have preferred natural lighting, even an extra lamp or light would have been appreciated!

- The iPod docking/radio (generic brand, not apple) is STUCK to the end table. Like glued on or something. Don’t want those Vegas punk kids to take it I guess.

All of that was bearable. But when I headed out to the convention center at 8 am, and I put the 'Service Please' sign on the door knob, I expected the room to be cleaned when I got back. When we made our way back to the hotel in the early afternoon during a break, I was a little surprised the room hadn't been cleaned yet. But, I figured they were busy, and that it would surely happen later. Less than an hour later, I left. No one had knocked while I was in the room, and so as I left, I kept the 'Service Please' sign on the door knob.

When I came back at almost 11:30 that night, the room was still dirty!! I couldn't believe it, but at that point, was so exhausted, I just wanted to go to sleep.

The worst part of the entire trip was the check-out process. In addition to the room service charge for breakfast, there was a 'Business Center charge'. I told her I didn't go to or use the Business center (I didn't even pay the $13.99 for the WiFi!). It was finally determined that the $12 Business Center charge was for having 2 FedEx boxes delivered to the hotel. As the front desk agent put it "Oh sorry miss. We don't do that here." Hmm. Really? If the boxes were oversized, or extra heavy, or if there were a lot of them, I could have understood. But come on!!

At this point, I was thoroughly annoyed and so decided to also mention to her that my room was never serviced. I let her know I had even put the 'Service Please' sign on my door and didn't understand what had happened. She had an apologetic look on her face and said 'Oh yea, that happens. The housekeepers see the sign on the door and think it says Do Not Disturb...no matter which side it's on'. Ummm, silence. I bite my tongue, but had to ask: 'You mean this has happened before?'. Unbelievable. Seriously driving me nuts. I couldn't get out of there quick enough.

As if that wasn't enough...

I generally don't sleep great when I'm on the road. Worried about the wake-up call or alarm not working and oversleeping...not use to the noises of the room (or in the case of the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas I was just at, not use to the sounds of the construction workers on strike outside.)

I have a flight out at 10:14 am, and I had planned it that way so that I could get some sleep the night before, but still fly out early in the day and get back to the office and have the majority if the afternoon there. Well, delay after delay, and almost three hours later and we still haven't left. The plane isn't even here. No one has information, no one can help, and everyone is confused, frustrated and unhappy. When the plane finally gets in and everyone has boarded, we still don't move. The guy next to me sighs and says 'Wonder what now'. Turns out because of some 'winds' in SF, we can't leave for another 30 min...and we don't deplane either. We just all sit here. The plane that was scheduled to leave after us and that they swore wouldn't get to leave before us, is no longer at the gate. I ask how that other plane left for SF and the flight attendant says it didn't leave. My neighbor and I look out the window to the gate next to us where the plane was, and ummm...no plane. We can physically see that the plane's left and they all still say that it hasn't.

Traveling has just become more and more challenging and expensive. You can help but wonder what's going to happen to the industry in the future. In the meantime, the memories, sights and seeing friends are all worth the hassle.

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