Friday, July 8, 2011

Rugby World Cup Accommodation Stuff-Up?

The modestly appointed Bond Street Motor Lodge in Kingsland has previously hit the headlines by an indignant MSM that breathlessly reported that the accommodation provider was raising tariff over the Rugby World Cup.

While we are quick to defend an accommodation provider's rights to allow market demand to dictate tariff levels, we do not support apparent sloppy and unethical customer service.

After an apparent comedy series of customer communication failures, the Bond Street Motor Lodge have landed themselves on the front page of the New Zealand Herald. 

It has been reported that in February this year, an English couple made a three-week booking at the Bond St Motor Lodge at $278 per week. It was reported that they were contacted a day later and told that the nightly room rate would be increased to $350 over the Rugby World Cup period. The English couple refused to pay and asked for their deposit back.

The English couple were contacted a week later by the manager of Bond St Motor Lodge and told that the tariff originally quoted was correct and an email was allegedly sent in March confirming the reservation.

Incredibly, it was claimed that the Bond St Motor Lodge again contacted the hapless English couple earlier this week, this time informing them that their reservation had been cancelled "because of a change in ownership and plans to refurbish rooms during their stay."

When asked to explain further, a representative from Bond St Motor Lodge reportedly said that "changes to office staff and management had caused confusion and refurbishments would be completed before the couple's stay, but they would need to pay a rate of $350 a night to keep their booking."

This is not a good look. The accommodation provider has apparently undersold one of its rooms and after a series of dyslexic communications has tried to embarrassingly back-out of the deal. Their qualification for doing so would appear to be somewhat flimsy and desperate.

As an accommodation provider, I can appreciate the anguish of stuffing-up and accepting a low yielding reservation, however the valuable lesson of the day is that you must swallow a rat and do what you say. In the accommodation business your word is your bond - even if a staff member gets it wrong.

The Bond St Motor Lodge appears to have paid a hefty price with their front page exposure, however it can not be underestimated the long term damage that could have occurred if this situation was played out in social media that includes the growing number of customer review sites. 

This story should be used as the basis of a training module for accommodation providers in "How NOT to deal with customers."

Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!