There have been thunderstorms coming and going all night. The hotel sold out, thanks to someone making an online reservation, and a guest needing a room change. I officially ran out of clean rooms. The online inventory is wrong, saying we have a room available, that isn’t. I fixed the issue by putting a hold on the room. Once the last arrival gets here, I will be able to finish the audit, which will most likely correct the inventory.
As the thunder started booming closer to the hotel, I received a call from a disgruntled guest. She was having trouble sleeping through the sound of the thunder. I offered to give her some earplugs, and took them to her room. A short time later, she called back.
“I’m using the earplugs, but they don’t work. I can still hear the thunder.”
“I’m sorry about that. Unfortunately, those earplugs are all I have to offer you.”
“Your website promises peace and quiet. Do you call thunder, peace and quiet?”
“No. But we can’t control the weather.”
“I would like to request a different room.”
“Unfortunately, we don’t have any available rooms left. To be honest, switching rooms won’t really do anything about the thunder.”
“I have to leave early in the morning.”
Apparently, it is my job to accommodate people who don’t appreciate having to deal with nature. I failed at soundproofing her room before she arrived. I am such a failure. She continued to complain.
“I want a refund, or at the very least, I should get a discount.”
“Ma’am, your reservation was made through a third-party. You prepaid, and it is non-refundable. I can’t offer you discounts or a refund. Even if this was a reservation made directly through us, we don’t refund, or discount rooms just because there is thunder outside.”
“But I gave you guys my credit card when I checked in.”
I informed her how checking-in works, including how third-party reservations work. I made sure she understood that her card was only for incidentals, and we wouldn’t be charging her card for her stay.
“What do you mean by incidentals?” She asked.
“If you were to smoke in your room, or damage something in the room, we would charge your card, but as long as those things don’t happen, then we won’t charge the card at all.”
“Do you actually assume I’m going to break something? I don’t even smoke.”
“ Then there isn’t anything to worry about. We won’t charge your card.”
“I want you to promise, no matter what, that you won’t charge my card.”
“As long as there are no issues, we won’t charge the card.”
“That isn’t a promise.”
“I can’t make that promise… Do you plan to smoke in the room?”
“Do you plan to break things?”
“Then I can’t think of a reason for us to charge you for anything.”
“This is pointless. I need to sleep, and you’re keeping me up.”
The guest hung up her phone. Half an hour later I received a call from Expedia. The representative told me the guest complained to her about a noise complaint, and that I failed to correct the issue. She said the guest told me there was excessive noise, and requested a room change, but I refused to accommodate her request. She then asked me why I refused to help her, and then said the hotel will have to pay for her to move to another hotel if we don’t accommodate her. When she finished explaining the issue to me, I told her about the conversation.
“The hotel cannot prevent thunder, or any other acts of nature from happening on any given night that a guest stays with us. We do not offer refunds or discounts just because there is thunder outside…”
I then reminded her that the guest made the reservation with them, Expedia, and she should already be aware of her own company policies…
“When she made her reservation through your site, she agreed to prepay for a non-refundable room. You know perfectly well that is the case, and you are fully aware that I cannot alter that. I would like you to explain to me why you are pretending as if this isn’t true.”
“What would you like me to tell the guest?”
“You can tell her anything you want. The billing issue is between you and her, not between her and this hotel. I can assure you, this hotel is not violating any agreements, and there is no chance that you can claim that I owe this guest something because thunder exists. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“No, I understand. I will tell the guest there is nothing that you can do.”
“How about you admit to the guest that it is your policy I am following, then you can deal with the guest yourself. I suggest simply telling her she agreed to pay ahead without a refund, but then again, you should have said that in the first place.”
“Yes, you are correct.”
“Thanks, have a good night.”
I hung up. My final guest arrived, and I finished all of my work. Netflix N’ Chill, anyone? I have lots of coffee, and cookies.