I had a long journey the other day and arrived at my hotel very tired. I hadn’t actually booked the room myself, my colleague had, but I had the booking reference from him and had stayed there a few times before. The lady I saw on reception was very welcoming and I explained who I was and that I wanted to check in and here was my credit card.
“I can’t see that we have a booking for you Mr. Johnson and we are fully booked tonight.”
I suggested they try and look up my colleagues name and then they would see that he had booked two rooms.
Yes, they had a booking for him but not for me.
Also, Mr. Johnson had already checked in.
Well, I commented, a Mr. Johnson may have checked in but I was clearly another Mr. Johnson (with a booking reference and confirmation email!).
Ah, but sir your confirmation email isn’t addressed to you it’s addressed to Mr. C……
Well however you look at it Mr. C has booked two rooms and I would like one of them.
But Mr. Johnson has already checked in.
And so it went on.
Is it possible that you have given my room to this other Mr. Johnson?
Well, I don’t think so.”
“Well, I know you don’t think so but is it possible?”
“Yes, I suppose it is.”
“Ok, could you then establish whether this other Mr. Johnson had a booking or if he was booked under another name?”
“I’m not sure how I would do that.”
“If Mr. Johnson was in his room you could try and ring him and ask him.”
“Good idea………………..I’m afraid there is no reply.”
“Did he leave a mobile number when he checked in?”
“Good idea………..voicemail, but I have left a message.”
“I need to eat. What time does your restaurant close?
“9.30 Mr. Johnson”
“Well then I will go and eat and perhaps you can see if Mr. Johnson- the other Mr. Johnson- replies to the voicemail”
“What if he doesn’t?”
“Well, if you are fully booked, even though I have a confirmation email, perhaps you could find me another hotel?”
“I don’t know if we can do that?”
“Perhaps you could find out, that would be useful?”
“OK, I’ll do that.”
Half an hour later- I got a call from Reception- “Mr. Johnson, the other Mr. Johnson has phoned in. He has replaced a colleague called Mr. Worthington at tomorrow’s conference so we do have a room available.”
I know I should have taken the opportunity to give some feedback and maybe tried to improve matters for the next Mr. Smith or Jones who books there but I was tired and whilst feedback is the ‘breakfast of champions’, “discretion is also the better part of valour”……….