December 14, 2018 • By Dennis Beaver
March 14th, 2018 at 4:00 in the morning was a day and time “Denny” would love to forget.
“I had the strangest nightmare. A tiny, evil character–something out of a horror movie–had poured gasoline on my right leg, set it on fire, and as it was burning, began to pound a nail into my right knee.”
And then he woke up to discover that his right leg, “Felt as if it really was on fire, and I could almost see the nail in my knee. It was the most extreme pain I had ever experienced.”
Chiropractors, neuro, orthopedic surgeons and anyone who has ever had similar symptoms know what caused Denny this debilitating pain: herniated, lumbar discs.
With his wife, “Annie” the couple would soon be on their way from Central California to Austin, Texas to be seen by “Dr. “L,” a world-class neurosurgeon who ten years earlier successfully operated on several of Denny’s cervical vertebra which were causing the loss of the use of his hands.
“Renovated Except for the Pool – Oh, You Want Hot Water?”
“The best reviewed hotel, closest to the hospital, was the Springhill Suites,” Annie explained, adding, “And their website stated the property had just been completely renovated, with only the swimming pool not yet finished. We phone the hotel directly and they confirmed the entire renovation was complete, and so we booked several days.
From Central California to Austin requires going through the enormous Phoenix Sky Harbor, and changing terminals. “Fortunately they have rapidly moving sidewalks, but even then, every other word out of my husband’s mouth was ‘Ouch!’ only it wasn’t really ‘Ouch,’ if you understand what I mean! He was in agony the entire trip, and then we checked in.
“We were in our room no more than 10 minutes when one of the managers dropped by and handed us a letter which stated, “Welcome to our lovely hotel. There will be no hot water after 9:30 in the morning the next few days. We hope this doesn’t inconvenience you too much.”
Sensing more than a slight lack of honesty, Denny hobbled downstairs to speak with the front desk manager who confirmed the property was still undergoing extensive work, “And there might be some unpleasant noise from time to time.”
He was right. “Later that day I heard what sounded like someone with a jackhammer outside our room! We complained, and he moves us to a room where the shower door could not be closed! Some renovation! While everyone was nice–which is why we remained there–it was clear the property should not have accepted guests, as was admitted by one employee who had very negative comments about the owners.
“Upon checking out, not one cent of a discount was offered. What should have occurred?” the couple asked.
“A legal obligation of being forthcoming with relevant information”
So, how do responsible hotel managers view our couple’s situation? “V,” The General Manager of a 4 Star AAA rated hotel in Western Canada stated:
“Properly run and maintained hotels are generally under constant renovation, from the little things like changing furniture in rooms, to major, whole floor re-models,” he points out.
“In this case, it is clear the fundamentals of innkeepers’ requirements were not met. A hotel has a legal obligation of being transparent and forthcoming with relevant information a prospective guest can rely on in making a decision to book that property.
“The absolutely worst thing management can do is to bring someone into your house and then let them know what they are not going to receive. The customer us paying for full services. Anything short of that is misleading.
“Either on your website or when checking in, you should never deceive guests. Especially with a renovation, you’ve got to be honest. The greed factor is out there and is short sighted, creating a bad reputation for the industry. The long-term view–building loyalty, valuing your guests and wanting to see the same faces over and over–can only be established by treating them ethically and with fairness,” he strongly maintains.
Steps for Guests to Take
“Silence isn’t Golden,” is the way he describes how guests should approach these situations, and offers this insight:
“Management has wide latitude to resolve problems if promptly informed. We care about guest reviews and can move you to a different room in a quieter part of the property, pick up the tab for breakfast, your parking, Wi-Fi, even give a significant discount for your room.
“We want you to have a positive experience, but need to know what’s wrong, now, not after your leave. And we want to see you back again.”
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.