I Wonder If I Just Set My Expectations Too High

To be clear, I’m not writing this post to get a result from a hotel company.  I’m specifically going to leave this as vague as possible.  I’m not trying to use my meager corner of the internet to exact some pound of flesh from a hotel company.  I don’t want points, free stays or some other apology.

I currently have top-tier elite status with 5 major hotel brands, so it’s not going to be immediately obvious which one I’m talking about here.  I’m not even sure if this is a rhetorical question.  I just don’t think I’m asking for too much.

I haven’t been too thrilled with this particular hotel company over the last year or so.  It feels like enough things go wrong or need an investment of time on my part to get them right.  My two most recent stays are good examples.

Stay #1

We recently had a stay where I requested connecting rooms since I’d be traveling with my wife and two kids.  Connecting rooms are important for me when I travel with the family.  I understand they’re not guaranteed. With this specific hotel chain, I have someone who helps me with all of my reservations.  I think that should score me a bit higher when a hotel is considering who to give connecting rooms to.

When we checked into the hotel for stay #1 and I noted to the front desk agent that the corporate employee who usually helped with our room reservations had told us the hotel confirmed connecting rooms.  The hotel employee was quick to tell me that wasn’t possible.  I politely replied that I was pretty sure this had been pre-arranged.  I was careful not to demand anything, just wanted to relay to him what I had been told.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Ed, this isn’t a big deal.  You asked for connecting rooms and didn’t get them.  Boo hoo, you’re so spoiled.”  As it turns out, this hotel actually doesn’t have any connecting rooms.  That’s the reason the hotel couldn’t accommodate the request.  Now, that’s a pretty odd thing.  I honestly can’t recall a hotel I’ve stayed at in quite some time with no connecting rooms.  They exist, but they’re few and far between.

I’m still honestly not sure if the hotel didn’t communicate to my contact at the corporate office, or if the fault lies with the person who helps with our bookings.  But, at some point, if communication is working effectively, I learn the hotel has no connecting rooms before I arrive.

Stay #2

After stay #1, I communicated my concerns to the person that helped me with the original booking.  They assured me the property had confirmed connecting rooms multiple times.  We had another stay coming up, again with a special request.  I asked for connecting rooms, but specifically asked for a location in the hotel. The location we asked for fit at least a few dozen rooms in the hotel inventory, so I don’t think it was an overly lofty “ask”.  A member of the hotel staff reached out to discuss our request.  I walked them through what we wanted and they clearly communicated to me their understanding.

I spoke with my contact who books our rooms on multiple occasions, including the day of our stay.  These were proactive conversations where they called me, not vice versa.  They assured me they had confirmation of the rooms from the hotel.  They checked more than once that the rooms block met our request.

Here’s the part where I’m an idiot.  I acted on that information and told my kids what to expect.  Plenty of foreshadowing here, but if you guessed that our room assignments were wrong, you’re correct.  The kids were a little disappointed but we spun it in a way that they smiled about.

I spoke with the front desk manager about the rooms.  I got a convoluted answer that sounded like there was a technical problem on behalf of corporate along with an employee who didn’t properly document things.

Where To Go From Here?

I’ve come to expect almost nothing from the airlines I fly on a weekly basis.  It’s clear they value the price of an individual ticket more than overall loyalty.  I don’t love it, but I get it.  It’s their business, they can run it how they see fit.  It’s changed my behavior, making me more of a free agent.

On the hotel side, I’ve been pretty loyal to a few brands, investing most of my spend there.  I’m not the biggest spender in the world, but far from the smallest.

I don’t think connecting rooms is a big ask.  I don’t think it’s overly difficult to communicate if that’s just not possible, whether due to configuration or availability.

I don’t feel like I’m asking for the moon.  I’m not asking for suite upgrades to be confirmed in advance when we’re not entitled.  Heck, in the example of stay #2, I even said I’d rather not have a suite upgrade if it helped with our location request.  These are just two recent examples of poor communication.

I spend enough money for business travel that I feel like I should get a bit of preferential treatment.  I don’t expect a red carpet.  I feel like I offer a more lucrative piece of business than the person who books an occasion room through Expedia or Orbitz.  I just wonder if that spending and loyalty should amount to something?  Which brings us back to the title.

Am I just setting my expectations too high?

The post I Wonder If I Just Set My Expectations Too High was published first on Pizza in Motion


  1. Customer service seems to have dropped a notch in today’s world no matter your earned status with most companies imo

  2. We’ve had two stays in the last 2 months at Ritz Carltons where the hotel has proactively called us to see if there was anything we’d need during our stay. Both times we asked for down-free rooms as we’re both allergic. This is something that is on both hotel’s website’s as an option…..so it wasn’t like we asked them to go out and buy down-free linens. Both times the hotel said it would be no problem. Unfortunately, both times our rooms had the traditional down-filled linens. What really irked me was the second stay, we even asked the checkin agent if the rooms had the down-free linens. Shen proceeded to go in the back for 3 or 4 minutes and call housekeeping…and assured me it was down free. Well, at 11pm when we went to bed everything was down. They came and brought the down free stuff and we made our own bed in a Ritz Carlton at 11:30pm. Not the end of the world, but not what we expect when paying $400+/night.

    I think hotels do more harm than good by trying to be proactive and not following through. If a hotel calls me and asked “what can we do for you” and then not delivers it is worse than not calling. Over promising and under delivering left a bad taste in my mouth and doesn’t do the hotel any favors.

    1. Shaun, you bring up a good point. I get welcome e-mails from many properties asking what they can do for me. Frequently, simple requests like extra pillows are ignored ahead of time

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