This week, Compensation Clinic pays a visit to the Holiday Inn Express Barcelona Sant Cugat, where a LoyaltyLobby reader had problem with the iron provided by the hotel.
Remember that you can always email me about the issues that you have had with travel provides and what compensation you have received. I will feature one case every Sunday.
You can access Holiday Inn Express Barcelona Sant Cugat’s website here.
Here’s the readers email:
During our stay, which was from Thursday to Sunday, we asked for an iron to iron some of our clothes. The hotel was happy to provide one and we picked one up from the hotel lobby downstairs (HIX almost never brings stuff up to the room, which is OK).
I had some bad experiences with hotel irons before, so I always make a point to visually inspect the iron for dirt of any kind and also to use a hotel towel to ‘test’ the iron before using it on my clothes. This time was not different and all looked OK, but when we used the iron on a pair of white shorts, there was some kind of red residue that came out of the iron! We were surprised as we did our regular ‘iron check’ before usage.
We stopped using the iron obviously and while going to the breakfast area we stopped by the front desk where there was a more than unapologetic and started a whole discussion on how it is not the hotel’s fault and that she was not the one who physically operated the iron so ‘how can the hotel be responsible for that’?
After a few minutes I was really fed up by the front desk agent and I requested to speak to the manager. The answer was that it was weekend and that there’s no manager on the premises. When I asked for the manager on duty, she called a colleague and gave us dirty looks at the same time.
Fortunately the manager on duty was a bit more helpful and she said that she would have to discuss this issue with her manager to figure out a solution. I was happy enough with that so we left for the day to enjoy Barcelona.
Upon return there was an envelope in the room from the manager on duty (who according to the letter was also the Guest Relations manager) that they would have taken the shorts to the dry cleaner free of charge, if only the dry cleaning service operated in the weekend (which it didn’t). They offered a full reimbursement if we took the shorts to the dry cleaner ourselves (at a mall nearby).
In essence I was happy with the solution offered, however our schedule did not allow us to visit a mall to go to the dry cleaners and wait for it or to come back for it later to pick it up so I decided not to avail of the offer and upon leaving the hotel I wrote a quick note explaining that I was happy with the offer, but that we did not have any time to take the shorts to the dry cleaners. I did ask them if the hotel was willing to compensate me for the shorts in IHG Reward points and I calculated a number based on the nightly rate (I paid with points, room rate was +- 55,00 EUR and dry cleaning would probably be around 7,50 EUR in our home town): I wanted to be realistic so I asked for (10.000 / 55 * 7,50 = +- 1300 to 1500 points). I know this is not a lot, but I thought that calculating it this way would be more than reasonable.
After a week I had no response from the hotel so I decided to contact the IHG Guest Services through the IHG Reward Customer Service center. The hotel responded within 48 hours to the Guest Services department that they apologize for the inconvenience and wanted to compensate me by offering 50 EUR worth of IHG Reward Points! At that time I had no idea how IHG would value 50 EUR worth of points, but it sounded like it would be definitely more than the 1500 points I asked for).
Days went by and unfortunately I had to ring them again to get this sorted, but in the end (today) they have offered me 13.000 points (the calculated equivalent of 50 EUR worth of points) as compensation for the inconvenience and to cover the ‘cost’ of dry cleaning.
I am happy with the end result, but it took some time and effort from my side to get this sorted.
I am glad that the LoyaltyLobby reader was able to find an acceptable solution for the iron issues, but the hotel should have made it right from the beginning. They probably have just calculated that very few guests will escalate the issue to the corporate level and they end up saving money this way.
This just reminds me that the service overall in Spain tends not to be that great and a friend of mine, who is running a business there, always complains about the terrible service provided by companies such as Telefonica.
I just hate when some hotels promise to get back to you about something but then never do. I have a couple of examples from this year that I may write about at some point.
The most recent one was at an Embassy Suites hotel where they promised to get back to me regarding awarding points for some issues instead of me exercising the 100% satisfaction guarantee during the stay. I have now escalated the issues to the Hilton’s Guest Assistance.