Free stuff. Who doesn’t like a freebie from time to time? Well, some people truly believe it’s their birth right to get stuff complimentary every time they stay at a hotel. Like if the establishment should be in eternal debt for their presence. In the hospitality sector, we call these types of guests professional complainers … aka travelers. Usually, they stay in hotels during the weekend with their families and/or friends to take full advantages of all the facilities with the hope of getting compensation for some or all of the items on their bill.
But the true question is how far will some guests go to get free stuff during their stay. Now, I am a true believer that if the property is at fault, then yes …. lay the red carpet for the guest and give them freebies. Something that will show the guest that you are truly sorry for the bad experience and that you care for them. Some though, really will go the extra mile to ensure you give them everything or more. A lot of times, what they ask for compensation does not justify the “damage” caused by the property. When you deal with some of these travelers, you cannot help thinking to yourself if they are in the correct frame of mind, because what they are asking for is truly unreasonable. An example of this would be a family coming to the property and upon check in, is was customary at this particular place to inform guest of the children opening times of the Health Centre. This was to avoid little children running around and .. well … be kids during peak hours when paying members were trying to wind down in the spa and pool area. The family were informed of the hours and went to their rooms. They decided to go with the children to the pool (one of them being a toddler. Maybe 1 year old). Of course that they went after the children hours and demanded to be let into the pool as they were staying in-house. The Health Centre receptionist politely refused entry and once again reiterated the opening times for children. And the fun began! The parents began shouting to the receptionist and stating they were paying good money at a 5 star property … how this was not 5 star service … and blah, blah, blahhhhhhh. They went to speak to the manager, who to their misfortune was me that particular evening. When they came to the reception area they placed the toddler on the desk and starting saying how we ruined their stay. That the incident has caused permanent distress to their baby and they wanted for the hotel to give them the entire weekend stay for free. They probably noticed my WTF face and also to their bad luck, the receptionist that checked them in was also still present. First of all, what type of parent are you using your child to try to get a free stay at a hotel which you probably cannot afford. Secondly, if you are going to complain, make sure that the people that dealt with you aren’t there anymore so you can lie your ass off. Finally, read both of them again and again. Of course, once we told them that they were informed clearly about the children hours upon check-in there was not much more we could do for them. Genuinely, if the Health Centre is not too busy we can be flexible, but in this case it was packed with members and also these people were just twats. We offered some amenities for the children for the “distress” caused, but they wanted champagne to which I also refused and asked them “thought the children were the ones distressed”. They of course threatened with their usual complaints on social media. This is just one of the many examples that happen. You can read more stories on our community forum.
It is quite sad to see how some people will cause distress to hard working employees just to get something for free. A lot of these travelers will invent so many situations just to get away with not paying something. Employee was rude, food was too hot, too cold, too much, too little, or basically anything just to save a few quids. They are getting smarter though! They make bookings thorough travel agent websites that do not require a credit card. Once they check in, they refuse to give a credit card and become a CASH only guest. This basically means that we close all postings to the room and they are PAYG (pay as you go). Some hotels will ask for a cash/credit card deposit beforehand, but some CASH guests don’t leave anything. So they take advantage of the timings. What does this mean? For example, they go to the restaurant, rack up a large bill and then when it is time to pay the bill, they give their room number. If the person serving them is not diligent enough, by the time he/she tries to get a method of payment, the guest has left the outlet. So essentially, it becomes the hotel’s “responsibility” to chase for payment. A administration nightmare which has a lot of employees sweating and praying for the guest to pay or they will have to cover it out of their own pocket. Remember, the business never loses, it’s the employees that do.
We also have criminals on the prowl of hotels, specially in the 5 star market. They go to the bars and drink expensive drinks to eventually leave without paying. It is very common in 5 star establishments for the outlets not to ask a guest for their room number, as it is considered rude by inappropriate by guests. Like if you are questioning their financial status or if they are lying about staying at your property. Crooks know this, so many will take advantage. Consume enough to get happy and then casually walk out of the bar without settling the bill.
Have you experienced any of these situations or have an anecdote you would like to share with us? Please feel free to leave your comments below.