Times change, but our dedication to perfecting the travel experience never will. Our highly personalised 24-hour service, combined with authentic, elegant surroundings of the highest quality, embodies a home away from home for those who know and appreciate the best. ~from the Four Seasons website.
So here I am sitting in the lobby bar of the very upscale and luxurious Four Seasons Hotel at Canary Wharf in London. As you know, London rivals New York as the financial capital of the world and Canary Wharf is an area where all the major financial services organizations and global investment banks have their headquarters. Definitely home of the “captains of the universe” and a good location for a world-class luxury hotel.
I arrive early and wishing to get some work done I order a drink and pull out my iPad2 to check email, etc. I connect to the WiFi and get a strong signal, but before I can connect to the Internet up pops a screen telling me that all I need to connect is a PIN number, which I can gladly purchase at the front desk. Guess how much? £15, about $22 US dollars!
Deja’vu. You may recall my previous blog (Why I Dislike Big Hotel Chains) about a similar incident in Pune, India at the Hyatt Regency hotel.
Here is my experienced business traveller point of view. I have just brought business into their establishment, a business dinner for two, with wine, to the tune of £100+ and I can’t even get free WiFi access for a few moments! Plus I had a drink in the bar as I was waiting (and not being allowed WiFi access) to the tune of £15. I know there’s a hefty profit margin on drinks, wine and dinner.
So, based on these experiences here is my business traveler’s definition of the Four Seasons “luxury”hotel: high prices, average service, expensive surroundings and charge the customer for every little thing we can get away with. A smile is not luxury service. A marble lobby is not luxury service. Providing the guest, or in my case paying customer, with what they need at the time they need it is luxury service, and very rare these days.
A message to the accountants who must be running these hotels. It is important that your customer service policies match your customer marketing rhetoric. What part of customer satisfaction don’t you understand? You have just lost a future customer – calculate the cost of that over a lifetime?
Tight Lines . . .
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