This week the Compensation Clinic will handle a recent stay I had at the Four Points Los Angeles Airport that included several disturbing elements.
Let me start this off by saying that I stayed at this hotel numerous times since 2007, probably close to 50 nights in total. There were only a few stays here and there where things got difficult, mostly related to housekeeping issues and the annoying lack of an unloading/loading area for your car (the driveway itself is very narrow and the shuttle bus to the airport has to squeeze through as well).
Anyhow the main issue this time was once again related to housekeeping problems.
Usually the hotels start to make up rooms around 8AM which is a normal time for any sort of business to starts daily operations. The first thing I do when I get to my hotel room is to put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door or activate the DND sign per switch depending on how modern the hotel is.
At the Four Points I did the same but nevertheless was awaken the next morning around 7am when housekeeping started to attend the room next to mine. First their walkie talkie handset was set to a super loud level, beeping all the time and when someone spoke it was halling through over the whole floor. Then 3 employees talked loudly in front of the room despite the DND sign clearly visible on the door.
I called the front desk and asked for the Duty Manager who was not available but they promised to have them tune it down. This promise didn’t really improve things so I called again and again asked for management to call me back which never happened. At that time I was wide awake at ~7:30am despite planning to sleep at least until 9/10am due to a late arrival and a long flight ahead of me.
There was also trash left in the room and I noticed no paper/pen left on the desk which is usually standard at any hotel. I just missed it because I called my airline to change a ticket and wanting to make some notes.
I mentioned it at checkout and the Duty Manager came out. Since the airport shuttle was just pulling up we agreed he would investigate and get back to me via email. The email never arrived even 4 days later and I opened a complaint file with Starwood Customer Service.
The day after I received the following email
I would like you to call me so that we can discuss your reservation on 02-29-16 until 03-01-16, I would like to apologize for the inconevenience during your stay. Please call me at 310.645.4xxx
Assistant Front Office Manager
I was more than irritated by this, first of all it was agreed to that we would communicate via email which never happened and then he emails a guest that lives 9,000 miles away to give him a call?
An inquiry with SPG followed, prompting the following email.
Thank you for reaching out to us about your Customer Service file. It is my pleasure to assist you.
It appears that on March 2, 2016, Front Desk Manager Lupe V., noted your file stating that they had reached out to you and telling us to close the file. Have you heard from Lupe?
Reply to this e-mail to let us know and we can take matters from there.
I forwarded this email again to SPG, criticizing their modus operandi that the property can just tell Customer Relations whatever story and the file will be closed upon their request.
Thank you for contacting Starwood Hotels regarding your stay at The Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport. I am sincerely sorry that you were sent an email by the Front Desk Assistant Manager requesting that you call him.
I have reopened the file to be reviewed by the Senior Managers at the hotel so that they can see how you were responded to and to review the issues that you did have with the Hotel Staff.
In the meantime, I have requested that 3,000 Starpoints be posted to your Platinum SPG account.
Those Starpoints should be credited to your Platinum SPG account within seven to ten days.
I’m not sure what to be more upset about. The initial problems with the stay itself, the unprofessional handling from the manager or the fact that Starwood has a system in place the simply pushes all complaint management to the property without any checks and follow ups.
While 3000 Starpoints are nice to have this once again showcases a typical issue with Starwood because whenever you have a problem that can’t be solved with the property, Corporate Customer Service is absolutely useless.
Other companies such as Hyatt and Marriott will take it into their own hands to make things right, either via phone or through email. Starwood simply pushes everything to the property and if they continue to ignore the matter then that’s about it. All you can do is to continue writing emails to corporate to reopen the file, eventually they might get annoyed and give you something to go away. This case was still one of the better outcomes as they promised to forward the matter to Senior Management. I had other instances such as with Le Meridien Bangkok where nothing was ever done.