Marriott – Spirit is weak

Over the years I have spent a lot of time in hotels. I train in them, teach in them and stay in them. I spent over a year working with Telewest as their National Sales Trainer. It meant that I flew from London City Airport on Monday morning to Edinburgh and back on the Friday night. The following week I flew from Stanstead on the Monday morning to Newcastle upon Tyne and back on Friday night. I did that alternating routine for eighteen months. When I flew back from holiday in Cyprus the flight attendant gave me a form to fill in with the usual questions: what newspaper did I read, where did I book my holidays and, surprise, how often had I flown in the last year? I thought about it for a while and did the math. Allowing for the occasional one-day return, it worked out at 123 times. It was more than the flight attendant I think.

I was always booked into a Hilton or the Holiday Inn. I was always welcomed and greeted like royalty, just like the other guests were. Efficient, nothing too much trouble and caring. They understood the rules.

Paying customers are great but repeat or returning regular customers are the lifeblood. When I first arrived at the Hilton in Edinburgh they didn’t know me from a hole in the road. I was treated as if I had stayed there before every week for the last five years. It was comfort all the way.

The thing about great service is that you tell five or ten people. The thing about bad service is; you tell fifty!

I was told one week that I would be staying at a very exclusive hotel near Edinburgh. It was an old manor house in landscaped grounds. I liked the sound of that.

I landed at Edinburgh, picked up my hire car, and drove through the snow to the big gates of the Hotel and as I made my way along the drive I looked up and saw the sign: The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club. As I parked the car a doorman in a long coat and top hat came out and carried my suitcase into the hotel.

As I stood in the foyer I looked around at the décor. Yes, very classy and very gothic with a touch of the stately home about it. Behind the reception was a big sign. It said: Marriott. Then I noticed a big picture of old man Marriott smiling at me. It was a strange smile and made me feel uneasy. Like a turkey that had just caught Bernard Matthews grinning at it. I soon realised what he was smiling about. He was smiling at all of the gullible suckers that book into his hotels. Like PT Barnum is WRONGLY attributed as saying, ‘Theres a sucker born every minute’, old man Marriott must be thinking ‘Theres a sucker checking in every minute’. There was another sign on the wall next to it that said: We Are Dedicated To Your Service. That turned out to be hilarious.

The girl behind the desk looked up and greeted me by saying: ‘Yes?’ That was the customer service over with.

I told her my name and handed her the fax booking details with the re