Day Rate Berate

, , , | Right | March 13, 2019

(I am the front-desk manager at a hotel that is located across the street from the bus station and train station. I have been gone on maternity for just over a year and during that time we gained a new regular customer. This customer has been staying with us every six weeks during our down time — fall, winter, and spring — when we have very few bookings and can make special price arrangements to get people into the rooms. We are now in the middle of summer and we are sold out or close to it every night. I take a call from a customer. This conversation takes place in French.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Hotel]; this is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, this is Mr. [Caller]. I’m going to need a room this Friday. I will be arriving around ten am on the bus and will be using the room only until around ten pm when my train comes in. They do this for me all the time and give me a discounted rate.”

Me: “Okay, Mr. [Caller], that’s not a problem. I can book that for you.”

(I get the information in the system, thank the customer for his business, and send off the confirmation. During our down time we can book a customer for zero days, which will automatically generate a price of about 50% off the down season rate, referred to as a day rate. In the summertime, our rates are about $20 more per night and the day rate is disabled. If a customer wants a room, they have to pay for the whole night regardless what time they leave. Since he is a regular, I do give him a significant discount, making the rate about $25 more than he normally would pay, and about $30 less than the normal rate. Within minutes I get another call.)

Me: “Thank you for calling—“

Caller: “It’s Mr. [Caller]. I just booked a room for the day, and the confirmation you sent is for a whole night.”

Me: “Oh! Mr. [Caller], hello! I apologize for the confusion. It will show in the system that you have the room for the night because during the summer we can’t do day rates. But I have noted that you will be leaving the room by ten pm and you have been booked at a discounted rate—“

Caller: “Argh! I wanted the room for the day, and I always pay [price $25 less], AND I WANT A F****** MANAGER NOW! MANAGER NOOOOW!”

Me: “Sir, I am a manager and I understand that—“

Caller: *literally screaming into the phone to the point that I can barely understand him* “I HAVE A COMPLAINT; I WANT A MANAGER!” *garbled speech* “F****** RATE!” *garbled speech* “WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU OR YOUR HOTEL!” *more garbled speech followed by a string of French swear words, and then he hangs up*

(While he is rambling on and on I change the reservation to reflect that he isn’t staying the night and resend the confirmation. Within about thirty seconds of hanging up he calls again.)

Caller: “You just sent me a new confirmation, but it’s still the wrong rate and I want NOTHING to do with your f****** hotel! Cancel it NOW!”

(Then, he hangs up again. I decide to give in and manually change the price to LESS than what he expected to pay, to try to avoid losing a regular. I call him back to try to smooth things over.)

Me: “Hello, Mr. [Caller]. This is [My Name] calling from [Hotel]. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve changed the rate to [price lower than he requested], and I will also give you a free upgrade to the jacuzzi suite so you can relax while you wait for your train. Again, I apologize for the confusion; our prices and policies are different during the summer and—“

Caller: “Argh, I want NOTHING to do with you or your f****** hotel! CANCEL IT, YOU B****! I AM DONE WITH YOU PEOPLE!” *followed by a string of French swear words and insults and other garbled speech*

Me: “Sir, SIR! I am cancelling your reservation. You are no longer welcome to stay here. Have a good night. I am ending this call now.”

(I hang up and immediately send out a note to all the staff, filling them in on the situation and advising them not to book him a room. About an hour later, just as I’m getting ready to leave, my colleague stops me:)

Colleague: “We’ve gotten an email from our online booking department regarding the customer in question. You have to see it.”

(I can’t help but laugh as I read it. It should be noted that there are only four hotels in our little town, and as we are the only hotel within walking distance to the bus and train stations, we are also the only hotel to offer day rates for bus and train passengers. This is a special arrangement that is made by the general manager and is only valid during slow times. This rate CANNOT be applied online and must be done directly through the hotel. Based on the email, the customer has tried unsuccessfully to book at the three other hotels, only to find that they not only are fully booked but would charge the full rate which is more than our full rate. He then tried to book online, only to find that he would have to pay the full rate. The end of the email reads as follows:)

Email: “The guest would like to apologize for the way he spoke to your staff and would like to know if he can still take the room and if it will still be the discounted rate you offered. He said he loves your hotel, despite what he said. Can you please contact the client by email or phone?”

(I laughed, called the customer — who didn’t answer — and left him a voicemail. I told him if he wanted the room he would have to call the hotel directly. He never did call, and on the day he’d planned to come stay with us, we saw him sitting outside the train station on a bench in the sweltering heat for most of the day. I would have gladly let him come in, if only he had asked. I guess he realized what an a** he had been and was too embarrassed to show his face. We never saw him at our hotel again, but we have seen him walking around the parking lot of the train station from time to time. Good for him.)

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