Compensation Clinic: Marriott Manila

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A LoyaltyLobby reader emailed me a copy of the complaint that he had sent to Marriott customer service after one night stay at the Manila Marriott (airport hotel).

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Here’s the complaint letter to Marriott:

I arrived at the Manila airport and exited to the ground transportation area at approximately 5:40PM.  At the airport information booth I was told the various hotel shuttles depart from “Bay 15”.  I proceeded there and noticed a red bus with “Resorts World Manila” on it.  This bus left at 6:00PM.

At about 6:15PM I proceeded to the “hotel lounge” office to inquire about the frequency and location of the Marriott shuttle.  The lady who sat at the desk in front of the Marriott sign told me that I have to go to Bay 15 for the bus.  I was told I missed the last one and had to wait another hour.  When I asked if the bus departed on the hour, half hour, etc she was unable to answer.

Rather she seemed more interested in assisting her friend who had come in from outside to sell me a taxi coupon for a ride to the hotel.  They were quoting me 1150 Pesos ($27.38 USD) at first for a mini-bus, then 850 Pesos ($20.23 USD) for a car.  I declined as I know the metered rate is about 100 Pesos ($2.17).

I then asked if they could call the hotel to find out the exact schedule, at which point they then wanted to sell me a mobile SIM card.  Without a doubt the level of “customer service” offered in the hotel airport ‘lounge” was shambolic at best.

I then proceeded back outside again to wait.  I asked the “Resorts World” representative about the Marriott shuttle and he told me it was in fact the red Resorts World bus I had seen earlier.  I conveyed to him there was no signage on the bus to indicate it.  He advised me the next bus would leave at 7pm.

After almost 90 minutes of running around, being subjected to taxi touts, being rained on and inhaling the polluted air at arrivals, the bus arrived.  Again there was no signage either in the windows or on the side of the bus that indicated it serviced the Marriott Manila.  Additionally, it was rather shocking that the bus had to be 20 to 30 years old and inside basically sounded like it had no muffler.

At check-in on the Executive Floor at approximately 7:20PM, I conveyed my complaint to the Club Manager who while apologetic seemed to be merely paying lip service to my issue, as if they have heard it before.  I inquired if a suite was available and was told there was one available but I would have to wait approximately 45 minutes for it to be cleaned.  As the cocktail hour was still on, I said that it was fine and I could wait.  The request was then put on priority.

An hour later, I asked if the suite was ready.  The club agent made a call and was told the Housekeeping Supervisor was going down to check the suite and would require another 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes later I was informed they still required more time to clean the suite, so I asked and was placed in a guest room in the meantime.  It was only at approximately 9:45 that I was finally called and keys brought to me so that I could move into the suite.

Later a hotel employee rang my doorbell to bring in an ionizing cleaner, as the room was a smoking room.  I did not require it but shows that the delay was definitely not due to housekeeping using said machine to clean the room’s air.

Needless to say, taking almost 2.5 hours to clean a suite is quite a service failure.  Considering the hundreds of hotel nights I have spent at various chains over the years, the most I have ever waited for a room/suite to be cleaned would be about 45 minutes.

This delay cut into my evening schedule and after completing some required work, went to sleep at 1AM and woke up at 5:30AM as I had an early flight.  I can’t say I exactly felt refreshed after only 4.5 hours of sleep.

I departed at 6:30AM the next morning and upon check-out I was asked how my stay was.  I was rather frank with the club agent about the cleaning and bus issues.  She informed me that a bus would soon be departing, at which point I politely declined and requested a taxi.

When considering the above service issues, I feel this stay (a 10 hour one at that)  fell exceedingly short of what I have come to expect from Marriott.  The property itself is very nice, however it seems as if there is serious shortcomings at the service level.  The cleaning delay was totally unreasonable and the shuttle bus service, given the lack of signage, schedule (once an hour) and the actual bus used for transportation is abysmal.

It seems to be pretty much Standard Operating Procedure for hotels to at least have signage on or inside a shuttle bus indicating which hotel(s) it serves.  Surely I am not the first guest to complain about this issue, which is easily solved by spending a few dollars for an outside decal or merely printing out a piece of paper to put in the bus window that says “MARRIOTT”.

Given that the bulk of this stay I would consider a complete failure, I would like to politely request compensation of Marriott Rewards points, equal to a one-night stay at the same category of hotel (Category 6) that I can use later to relax and actually enjoy as a leisure night.

Problems:

1. No proper signage on the hotel shuttle bus.

2. Disinterested Marriott airport employee.

3. Condition of the shuttle bus.

4. Time to clean the room.

5. Inability for the hotel to make these problems right during the stay.

Here’s the hotel’s reply:

Mabuhay and warm greetings from Marriott Manila!

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to host your visit and for your E mail and feedback forwarded thru Marriott Customer Care. It is with considerable concern to have learned of the inconveniences that we have caused you in particular with the difficulty encountered with our shuttle service, your experience at terminal 2 in the transportation lounge and certainly there is no excuse for the long wait and the time it took for us to clean your Suite. I am at a loss as to explain what went wrong this time as these does not in any way reflect the level of service we want to impart to our Elite guest such as yourself, it was evident that we have failed to meet the service that you truly deserve and for these we sincerely apologize.

These disapproving manifestations has been taken into account and we have immediately liaised with our shuttle service provider to make sure that the Marriott Signage is visible in all the shuttles servicing Resorts World Manila and our Hotel and to ensure the upkeep and quality of the busses, to our transportation provider pertaining to your experience at the Hotel transportation lounge in terminal 2 and to our respective service team leaders so that we can review our process and that corrective actions can be undertaken.

You are important to us and in acknowledgment of your loyalty we will be honoring your request to credit 30,000 points to your Marriott Rewards account.

Mr. LoyaltyLobby reader, I hope that this isolated incident will not place our Hotel in your permanent disfavor and please allow me to personally assist you should your travel plans brings you back to Manila so that we can provide you with the service, you truly deserve. Once again thank you for your support and we hope to welcome you back here in our Hotel in a not too distant future.

Conclusion

I think that this was a proper compensation for the inconvenience and I truly hope that the hotel fixed the signage issues with the airport shuttle. The complaint itself was bit too long.

It is always surprising that when a hotel employee asks how the stay was and you tell them the issues you may have had that they are not able to offer instant resolution on the spot. At least this is my personal experience with Marriott hotels.

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