This week the Compensation Clinic-case comes from a reader’s stay at the Hilton affiliated DoubleTree hotel in Gatlinburg, TN.
Remember that our readers can also always email us, send us a Facebook message or Tweet about the issues you have with hotels, airlines and other travel providers. We’ll feature one new Compensation Clinic each week.
You can access DoubleTree Gatlinburg’s website here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I always read your newsletter with great pleasure and attention. I work full time, have many leave hours and all my travels are for leisure.
Recently I had a stay in the Doubletree Gatlinburg, TN and I didn’t feel comfortable at all. The hotel was full, so no upgrade, but they also refused to give me the room I booked or a room that would be more to my needs. Beside that, they were very unfriendly.
I made a complaint, see underneath and received a reply from the HHonors desk. I would like to know what you think of this.
Here’s what the reader had sent to Hilton:
Early Wednesday morning last, 5th April, I have made a complaint about a stay, using the online form on the HHonors website on the computer of the hotel. After sending, I received a message ‘ page cannot be displayed’ . I assumed my message had come forward, but since I received no reply so far, I think it never arrived.
It concerns a stay in the Doubletree Gatlingburg, TN, arriving Tuesday 4th, staying for one night, confirmation number: REMOVED.
Upon arriving I didn’t receive any recognition of my Diamond Status at all from a young man who assisted me. After mentioning I was brute told the hotel was full. I can understand if a hotel is full, it will be hard, but a warm a friendly welcome can make up for this. Then I asked if I could have a room with a sunny balcony, on the SW site. I was again brute refused that he couldn’t change rooms. This is weird, as the parking lot was almost empty on my arrival around 2 p.m. I told I was travelling alone, but he didn’t listen and gave me suddenly two breakfast vouchers.
After arriving in my room, I found out he had put me on the cold North site of the hotel on a low floor, not even on a HHonors floor. My reservation was for a King with sitting area and balcony. I had a two King room and no sitting area!!! I returned to the desk and complained, but I was not taken seriously and they said they could not swich rooms. After my arrival many guests arrived, they were all new guests, carrying bags, so no returning guest after a day out.
Some time later, in the elevator I spoke two man from the US with luggage who went to the most upper, 15th floor. Upon asking they said they were given this room because they were HHonors and insisted to have a room on a high floor. They were Silver members……………….
So, not only I felt very very uncomfortable, I also felt discriminated, because I am a woman from Europe travelling alone. Both this and the fact that I as a Diamond member was given a ‘leftover’ room, I want to make a serious complaint.
Here’s what Hilton’s Guest Assistance had replied:
Thank you for contacting Hilton Guest Assistance. My name is Ana. It will be my pleasure to assist you with your concern.
I understand your frustration and apologize for falling short on our high service standards. While we do our best to always deliver a smooth experience, it appears we fell short and did not meet expectations during your visit. I’d like to make it up to you and have added a total of 5,000 points to your Hilton Honors account. Please allow up to 24 hours for these points to be reflected online.
I then exchanged few emails with the reader and it seems that the hotel really didn’t come through with the booked room that they claimed was an upgrade. I thought that it would be good for the reader to reply and require more points or Be My Guest-certificate for the troubles.
Here’s what Hilton wrote:
Thank you for contacting Hilton Guest Assistance. My name is Catharine. It will be my pleasure to assist with follow up. The hotel informs that your room was upgraded, so we apologize this was not to your liking.
I understand your frustration and apologize for falling short on our high service standards. While we do our best to always deliver a smooth experience, it appears we fell short and did not meet expectations during your visit. I’d like to make it up to you and have added an additional 15,000 points to your Hilton Honors account. Please allow up to 24 hours for these points to be reflected online. No further compensation will be given.
And the reader:
HHonors gave me 15,000 points extra! So again, thank you very much for your assistance and information that 5,000 points was too little for the discomfort. If the young man and the other staff at the front desk of the Doubletree Gatlinburg, TN, had been better trained and had behaved more guest friendly it would have saved the hotel a lot of trouble. You always have to realise that you are working in the hospitality business.
Although the hotel had apparently claimed that the reader was upgraded when they got hit with the Guest Assistance-file, that was not the case. These rooms sell for the same price.
Hilton Honors charges an assistance fees back to the hotel for Guest Assistance-files. When Diamond members opens one, the hotel has to pay $200 in addition to any compensation provided. Better keep those Diamond guests happy!
The problem with the DoubleTree brand is that it is often used for conversions from other brands. Could be that full service Marriott that is unwilling to put up the cash required for upgraded decides to rebrand as DoubleTree. Note that this is not always the case (there are newly build DoubleTree hotels too especially in Asia) and some of the DoubleTree hotels can be far better than full service Hilton’s. You just never know what you will get.
I am glad that the reader was able to get more appropriate compensation from Hilton Honors. Not sure if I really liked, however, the tone of the last reply from them.