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At This Rate, They Probably Slept Through The Convention!

, , , , | Working | September 23, 2022

Let me tell you about the craziest eight hours I have ever spent in a hotel. 

I am traveling for a large convention. Over 2,000 people are expected to attend and stay at the same large, well-known hotel in a large, well-known city. I also happen to be a member of this particular brand’s rewards program.

I travel twelve hours by bus because I don’t trust flight reliability right now. One of the perks of the rewards program is mobile check-in, meaning I can use the app to tell them when I am coming and get my mobile key ahead of time. Or at least, that is how it’s supposed to work.

12:00 pm: Still on the bus, I check in on my phone and select an arrival time of 3:00 pm. I get a message saying, “We are preparing your mobile key.” Great so far.

2:30 pm: I arrive at the hotel and get in line to check in. As I said, a large crowd is expected for the week and several hundred have already arrived. I stand in line for thirty minutes, making it 3:00 pm when I get to the desk, the exact time I designated for my arrival on their app. I am told my room isn’t quite ready yet. While disappointed, I sort of expected this as the normal check-in time is 4:00 pm. I had been hoping for some luck with the rewards member app, but oh, well.

The employee asks for my phone number and takes my ID and credit card and says they will text me when my room is ready. I give my suitcase to the bellman — I don’t want to be lugging it around and through gobs of people — and sit down in the lobby to wait.

4:00 pm: Check-in time! My phone is out and the volume is up; I want to be ready to go when they text me. Instead, I wait and wait. I get to chatting with other folks attending the same large conference; they tell me they were charged a large security deposit and still don’t have their rooms. So, that’s why the desk worker took my card! That’s a bit annoying, but I guess it’s standard policy. I would prefer to have a room to stay in before I get charged any money, though.

4:30 pm: Still no text. The line has grown to over 100 people. I decide not to brave the line again until I have to. Instead, I use the chat in the rewards member app. Because I have added the trip to my account, they know which hotel I am staying at.

Me: “Hi, I am in the lobby of [Hotel], and I checked in over an hour ago. Do you know when my room will be ready?”

Chatbot: “Thank you for contacting [Brand] guest support. A [Brand] host will be with you shortly.”

I wait almost ten minutes, only to receive:

Chatbot: “We apologize for the delay while we assist other guests. A [Brand] host will be with you shortly.”

So, I wait… for another thirty minutes! Now it is 5:00 pm, I have been awake since 1:00 am, and I haven’t eaten since 6:00 am. I just want a room and some food. I have also been able to confirm with my bank that, yes, I was indeed charged a sizable security deposit with no room to show for my troubles. I message the chat service again.

Me: “I am sitting in your lobby, at [Hotel] in [City]. I have been waiting for almost two hours. You took my card and charged money for a security deposit. Where is my room?”

There’s no response for another twenty minutes.

5:30 pm: I decide to cut my losses and at least get something to eat. I have just found the lobby bar and gotten a table when I get a message from my languishing chat conversation.

Chat Agent: “Your room is ready.”

So, back to the line I go. I’m hungry, but I want to get a place in line quickly as several hundred more conference attendees are pouring in. It’s a good thing I did, too, because I stand in line for another two hours before finally getting my room at 7:30 pm.

Tired and hungry but immensely relieved, I head upstairs. I also give the desk agent my claim ticket from the bellman, so my suitcase should be following me up soon, right?

First, though, I place a room service order because I am starting to get hangry. I wait and wait. Food arrives at 8:30, but there’s still no suitcase. I call the front desk.

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] in room [number]. I haven’t received my luggage. Can you check with the bellman?”

Desk Agent: “Of course. Can you describe your bag?”

Me: “It’s a large, purple, soft-sided suitcase. It has a tag with my name, [My First Name], on the handle.”

Desk Agent: “I’ll check right away. Thank you.” *Click*

I eat my dinner and generally decompress. Still no suitcase. By now, it’s almost 10:00 pm. I call the front desk again from the room phone. It rings and rings for two solid minutes with no answer. I try again; three minutes and no answer. I call the hotel’s outside number from my cell phone, and there’s no answer there, either.

Finally, I turn to the only method of communication that has seemed to bring me any results: the rewards member chat service.

Me: “I am in room [Number] at [Hotel] in [City]. I got my room over two hours ago and still haven’t been brought my luggage. Can you please check with the employees to locate my suitcase?”

Chatbot: “We apologize for the delay while we assist other guests. A [Brand] host will be with you shortly.”

I got absolutely no response from a human. But half an hour later, there was a knock at my door. Miraculously, it was the bellman with my luggage! I was finally able to sort my things and go to bed, twenty-one hours after waking up and eight hours after arriving at the hotel.

I understand the place was probably short-staffed, and they got slammed with the giant group of conference attendees all at once. But I wish they could have been more organized. I just feel bad for those who weren’t rewards members; the only way I got anything done was using the special chat function. I heard it was much, much worse for some other group members. Yeesh.

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