Comment: Promises, promises...12 January 2010
“Within the seclusion of its rich jewel-toned walls, you'll find a unique blend of character and charm that's immediately disarming, and service both warm and personal.
Whether you're in (the city) on business or pleasure, make sure you spend it somewhere memorable. The (X) hotel is one of those places you will never forget”.
So says a hotel brand about itself.
“The facility is a wreck...dirty carpets, bad air conditioning in all three rooms I tried...extremely noisy in the front (neighborhood) and in the back (air conditioning for the whole building) and all three rooms smelled like cigarettes...this was a terrible experience”.
“This place was beyond belief. They gave us this cell called a suite with a small window that backed onto a small park. There were no curtains and you needed a light on all day so you could see. The furniture was nailed together and the place was simply disgusting”.
So said two guests about the very same hotel. The only thing the hotel and these guests seem to agree on is that it is a place they’ll never forget.
On the website carrying these comments, out of 74 reviews 51 people rated it ‘terrible’ or ‘poor’ and a further 15 people rated it only as ‘average’.
I highlight these comments as an example of the not uncommon discrepancy between what a hotel promises and what it delivers (or at least, what it is perceived to deliver, which is, of course, more important).
Why, oh why, do so many hotel brands think that what they say about themselves and the design packaging they create will hide an obviously painful and unacceptable guest experience? In fact, it exaggerates the sense of dismay as it creates an expectation that is dashed on arrival.
When building a hotel brand the last thing that should be considered is the marketing and communication: these should simply be a reflection (even a dramatisation) of the reality of what the hotel delivers and the way it delivers it. Yet, in our experience it’s not uncommon for the building to be constructed, the interiors designed, the people hired and the restaurants conceived before some bright spark says ‘so what about the branding?’.
No wonder the chasm between brand promise and delivery is often so wide.