Compensation Clinic: Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong – Guest Service & Billing Issues

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Our Compensation Clinic case this week stems from a stay at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong where I had a brief one night stop last week before changing to Hyatt the next day.

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The Holiday Inn Golden Mile has a prime position in Kowloon and while I’m visiting the city for about 20 years and walked by there hundreds of times it was actually one of the hotels where I never stayed at.

On my return from Bali last week I had a late arrival in HKG and estimated to be in Kowloon about 9:00pm and the price was right. I usually pick from a pool of different hotels and one of my favorites is the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui but, for such a late arrival, I decided to try the Holiday Inn this time, leveraging my IHG Platinum status.

The hotel assigned a very decent upgrade based on the status which I honestly wouldn’t have expected. Unfortunately the positive experience stopped right there.

Immediately after check-in left for a walk around and it suddenly started to rain which is pretty common in HK. Still being nearby the hotel I stopped by the concierge desk to ask for an umbrella but was told the hotel won’t give any to their guests anymore.

Hotel management has instructed the concierge to stop giving any more umbrellas and instead tell the guests to go up to their rooms and pick them up, later return the (presumingly wet) umbrella back to the room. Allegedly guests had previously stolen the ugly Holiday Inn umbrellas from the hotel.

Needless to say, I refused to waste my time going upstairs, the hotel is pretty big. The Duty Manager then got an umbrella as requested somewhere from the back but his policy makes zero sense. If guests don’t return items borrowed from the hotel they the property has to charge them upon checkout just like they do when guests steal inventory from the hotel room.

Upon checkout, the employee didn’t use the previously requested credit card authorization but instead swiped the credit card again without entering the authorization code. The result is a double pending transaction, one of which will drop off a week or so later but still, merchants are supposed to use the existing authorization code.

I wrote to the IHG Ambassasor Service to report both of these incidents especially since nobody from the hotel management was available upon checkout (the usual “in a meeting” excuse). Very well, then I’ll open a guest relations file against the hotel if that’s easier.

Within just a few hours I received a reply including a compensation:

… I’m glad you got in touch with us about your stay with Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong. My name is Rianne, and I am happy to help.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us about the behavior of the staff. IHG strives to provide exemplary service, and I am sorry to learn that in this case, we fell short.

I have shared your comments with hotel management, who responded with genuine concern for the impact this had on your stay. I know they appreciate you sharing your experience, and I am confident they will take appropriate steps so this doesn’t happen again.

We appreciate you as an IHG Rewards Club Platinum Ambassador member and want your experiences with us to always be rewarding. That didn’t happen this time, and we’d like to try to make things right. To that end, I have issued 20,000 points to your IHG Rewards Club account. You should see this reflected on your account within 7-10 business days.

A few days later the rather generous compensation of 20,000 IHG points was credited to the account.

Conclusion

It’s the first time that I’ve ever experienced a full service, branded hotel refusing to lend the guest basic items such an umbrella at the concierge desk. It makes even less sense to demand the dripping wet items being returned to the hotel room after use.

As far as the credit card authorization is concerned, many employees don’t know how this works or are simply too lazy to look up and enter the code into the machine when processing final payment. It’s of course much easier to just swipe the card again.

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