by Nancy Bestor
On our most recent trip back East, we arrived to our first hotel from the airport late at night, only to find that they had no rooms with two beds left. Even though we had paid our entire hotel stay–for two double beds–IN ADVANCE, the hotel somehow sold out all of their rooms for four. The front desk clerk kept clicking keys on his computer, but an available room for four did not magically appear. We asked about two separate rooms, but they didn’t have that either. What they had was one room in which they might, or might not, be able to squeeze two roll-away beds.
We were tired. We’d been flying all day, and were ready to crawl into bed for a good night’s sleep, preferably in two double or queen sized beds. But the cards were not in our favor. The clerk worked really hard to accommodate us, but to no avail. He even sent us with the maintenance man to look at the available room and determine if two rollaway beds would fit. Bob and I were a little perturbed, but as the old saying goes “there’s no use crying over spilt milk.” It turned out they were able to squeeze two roll away beds into one room. And although we had to jump from bed to bed to move about the room, we were able to go to bed. It wasn’t ideal, but it was what it was. As we finished checking into our room, the clerk thanked us for being so understanding about the mishap, and offered us free breakfast the next morning.
Our clerk seemed a bit surprised that we weren’t more upset. And I realized that customer service representatives in all fields must expect people to get angry when they’re not able to get what they want, and/or what they’ve paid for. But what would being angry have gotten us? It wasn’t the clerk’s fault that the hotel had overbooked their rooms that night and yelling at him would have served no one.
I am certainly of the opinion that travelers should advocate for their rights, whether an airline bumps them off a plane, or a hotel doesn’t have a room that was pre-booked. But sticking up for yourself can be done with a smile and kind voice. We all know you catch more flies with honey. And you never know, if you’re nice, you may wind up getting something extra (besides good karma) in the end.