This week’s Compensation Clinic case comes from an attempted stay at Marriott Autograph Collection hotel the Saint in New Orleans.
You can access the Saint Hotel Marriott page here.
READ MORE: Marriott Bonvoy Rate & Bonus Points Offers
Email From The Reader:
I had a confirmed reservation at the Saint Hotel, Autograph Collection in New Orleans. I arrived around 3am and the doors were locked at both the main entrance and side entrance. I knocked, jumped up and down, waived, and did anything to try and catch the attention of anyone inside.
I called the hotel twice, and it just rung and rung. Nobody ever answered. There was no signage on the door to indicate anything or how to get in touch with someone.
The hotel was open, but nobody was there.
I ended up walking next door to the Ritz-Carlton, and had to get a room there. Of course, with a higher price tag to go with it.
The next morning I walked over to the Saint, and I was told the night auditor was there, but she was the only person and was busy.
I waited over 15-20 minutes outside on the sidewalk with my luggage, in the middle of Downtown New Orleans. Waiting any longer was undesirable and is why I sought accommodations elsewhere.
Having only 1 person working at a hotel 2 blocks from Bourbon Street in the craziness that is New Orleans? That’s unsafe. This has to be the only 4 or 5 star hotel in the entire city that doesn’t have more then one person working overnights.
I have followed up with the Ambassador Service several times over 2 weeks, and finally received this reply after the hotel never got back to me despite my requests,
Email From Ambassador Service:
Dear Mr. REMOVED,
I hope this email finds you well. I have discussed your request with my managers and unfortunately your situation does not qualify for compensation under the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee. According to the policy,
If a Participating Property is unable to honor the Reservation, it will pay for comparable accommodation nearby for the Elite Member that Night and compensate the Member for the inconvenience.
The hotel was able to honor your reservation, however, the front desk agent just was not at the desk at the time you were trying to check in. Since you cancelled your reservation and rebooked at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, this would not be considered a “walk” by the property. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I did add the 30,000 Points to your account that I offered you during our phone call. We appreciate your loyalty to Marriott Bonvoy, and if there is anything else we may assist you with, please let us know.
Marriott Ultimate Reservation Guarantee:
If for some reason we’re unable to honor your reservation, we’ll pay for your accommodations that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience. To be eligible, you must provide your member number when making a reservation. Compensation varies by hotel brand.
How can Marriott claim that the hotel could not honor the reservation if the doors were locked and the phone went unanswered? Should the Ambassador guest set up a camp at the hotel’s front door and wait until some employees come for their morning shift and the hotel is ready to welcome guests again?
The Same Reader Had Issues In Atlanta:
Over the past 24 months, I have concluded that Marriott corporate, its affiliated hotels, and some of their employees simply have become arrogant and don’t understand the basic concepts of the hospitality industry.
I find this extremely sad because Marriott used to really care about its employees, guests, and elite members before the merger (a purchase n reality) with Starwood. It was professionally run and an incredibly well-oiled machine that has completely lost its plot lately.
How Ambassador service can claim the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee wouldn’t apply when a guest with a confirmed reservation tries to check-in, but a hotel employee has closed doors and won’t take calls? This is utterly ridiculous.
Most of my Marriott stays are from good to excellent, mainly in Asia and Europe. However, dealing with corporate customer service even at the lifetime Titanium level is a major PITA. For example, it recently took six weeks and ten emails to have the correct number of points and nights credited for a stay. The same with Hilton, IHG, or Hyatt won’t take more than a day and a maximum of two emails.
I just don’t have the energy and patience to deal with this and only stay with Marriott when I know that the hotel is excellent or no other good options exist, which is rarely the case.
The reader in the instance above is owed $200, 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and the charge for the first night at the Ritz-Carlton waived.