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#MicroblogMondays 150: Making Space

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I called a hotel to make reservations for two dates and was told that they didn’t have rooms with multiple beds available for the first date, though they did for the second.  But when I gave my name to make my reservation, the staff member happily jumped into welcoming me, asking about Josh and the twins.  We always go to the same place so the moment I gave my name, she exclaimed, “I know the rest of your information.  I’ve entered it 500 times.”

She also shifted some people around and made room for us for the first date.  I was grateful, but I wavered between feeling like I deserved to be accommodated due to my extreme loyalty and feeling badly that I was getting something special.  A business benefits from loyal customers, and you build that loyalty by treating someone well, but it makes me wonder how many times I’ve been told “no” at a new place where a longstanding customer was told “yes.”

Do you think loyalty should be rewarded, or do you think all policies should apply to all people regardless of whether it’s their first time or 100th time frequenting a place?

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1. Mali (No Kidding) 10. Isabelle 19. VirgοΏ½ nia
2. Mali (A Separate Life) 11. Shilpa 20. Inexplicably Missing
3. Circle of Daydreams 12. Rennata- growing unique 21. deathstar
4. Karen (River Run Dry) 13. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 22. Jess
5. # Feminist Mondays | Naba 14. Traci York, Writer 23. Failing at Haiku
6. Different Shores 15. Parul Thakur | Happiness & Food 24. Inconceivable!
7. Turia 16. Mary Francis 25. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)
8. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 17. Empty Arms, Broken Heart 26. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable2
9. Raven 18. Jewish IVF

27 comments

1 Mali { 07.10.17 at 6:16 am }

Oh, that’s a tricky one! Like you, I waver between guilt and pleasure. Yes, I love being recognised or getting a little favour, but dont want anyone to be put out. But I perfectly recognise the right of businesses to cater to loyal, return business. I mean, all airlines (for example) loyalty programmes are designed to treat some people better than others. I’ve been in both the well treated category and the ignored category. I accept that at times I’m treated like a second class citizen – most notably when I’m entering another country. Actually, that brings an incident on my recent trip to mind … I might blog about it …

2 Nabanita { 07.10.17 at 7:19 am }

I don’t know. I would like to be treated well but again I would also hate if I’m being ignored for someone else. So, tough choice really.

3 Karen { 07.10.17 at 7:26 am }

Oh, that was nice of her to make space for you when she knew it was you! I love that she knew your kids AND your information because you stay there so often. Love being a regular somewhere. But I totally get the mixed feelings, too, because it means they are putting someone else out.

I see this as more of a personal connection though – the woman doing something nice because she KNOWS your family, rather than some loyalty program thing, you know? It’s deeper than just rewarding a loyal customer. You are a real person to her, not just a name on a reservation. That’s pretty awesome.

4 Different Shores { 07.10.17 at 7:30 am }

I can see it’s a grey area – on the one hand, I think loyalty should be rewarded, but then again, if the new person gets turned down I suppose it’s not fair… That new person then goes elsewhere and becomes ‘loyal’ to that new place… I guess it’s all swings and roundabouts.

5 Turia { 07.10.17 at 8:06 am }

I guess in a perfect world everyone would be treated equally, but I can see why businesses who are trying to survive would want to reward established, proven customers. I think I’d feel weird too, though, if I had been told “oh we can’t do that” and then presto it became possible once they knew who I was.

6 Linda @ Circle of Daydreams { 07.10.17 at 8:24 am }

Just recently a friend of mine’s mother was involved with the nasty floods in Queensland. Her father had passed away a couple of months earlier, and the mother had been ill with pneumonia. She was uninsured for floods as the house was not in a place known to flood.

All the carpet on the bottom floor, the walls, furniture etc etc… was wrecked. The mother accepted she would have to cover the cost as she was uninsured. Insurance companies are notorious here for being really difficult when floods are involved even when their customer IS covered for floods.

The mum went in to see the company, didn’t tell them about her husband or anything else awful, just spoke about what had happened. With no prompting what-so-ever, the insurance agent said they had been such loyal customers for over 50 years, that even though they weren’t actually covered, they would cover everything completely. They also got the upstairs carpet done for no cost as the water went halfway up the stairs, and they matched all the upstairs carpet in.

How amazing. At such a terrible time, the mum was overwhelmed with their kindness and generosity.

They helped my friend’s mum in a time of need (without knowing about the father at first), and with no reason other than they valued their custom.

In this case… I’m glad loyalty was rewarded.

7 a { 07.10.17 at 8:26 am }

That’s how the world works, though. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Everyone trades on their connections for things like jobs (networking) or events or even book recommendations at the library. If you take the time to make personal connections, it pays off. It only makes a difference if you’re initially told yes, and then someone (the loyal customer) bumps you.

On top of that, hotel accommodations are much more complex than “is there a room available?” I don’t know specifics, but you can tell by online shopping where there are 2 rooms available at X rate. And there is a block of 20 rooms reserved for your event rate. And there’s a walk-in rate. You’re probably not putting out anyone except the scheduler.

8 Charlotte { 07.10.17 at 9:14 am }

I agree with “A” above. That’s how the world works, and none of those future hotel guests will likely ever know things got switched around. I mean, if you were actually at the hotel, and they were physically going to have people switch rooms, that would be another thing entirely.
Personally, I don’t ever feel bad if something special is offered. If I have someplace I am loyal to and frequent over and over, it is nice for that to be acknowledged, especially in an age where customer service has gone by the wayside and people are often treated like they are expendable, employees and customers alike.

9 Raven { 07.10.17 at 9:50 am }

Like you, I would be torn between two sides…being grateful and feeling guilty. I definitely think rewarding loyalty is important, but it has to be done carefully so as not to displace other potential loyal customers.

10 Working mom of 2 { 07.10.17 at 9:51 am }

I don’t like being lied to. The flood coverage situation was different bc the person had the ability to make an execption. With a hotel, if you are told there are no rooms (when there’s really a few being held for more important people) or there’s no way they can make it work (when they could, if they wanted to), well, that’s lying.

11 Ana { 07.10.17 at 10:48 am }

this one definitely made me think for a bit…but in the end, I agree with A. No need to feel guilty (and I wouldn’t, unless I knew someone was being inconvenienced to make room for me, and it doesn’t sound like that is the case here).

12 Rennata { 07.10.17 at 10:53 am }

I guess I look at it this way, Generally in the hospitality business a large portion of your sales come from a small percentage of your customers. I have heard it call the 80/20 principal or 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers. Suddenly that makes it make sense why that 20% gets priority.

13 Lori Shandle-Fox { 07.10.17 at 11:08 am }

I know what you mean. It is uncomfortable. I think they could have spared you some of that by just saying: “I know you’ve been coming here for a long time. Let’s see what we can do” and leaving it at that. I hate when it’s a bribing situation. When someone might not be a loyal customer but they’ll be accommodated because they throw around big tips.

14 Parul Thakur { 07.10.17 at 11:52 am }

That’s a hard one. But putting logic to it – Rennata summed it well. It’s the Pareto Principle. The 80-20 rule for sure.
Personally – I would love fairness over loyalty.

15 Mary Francis { 07.10.17 at 12:25 pm }

I loved Linda’s story about the insurance company covering for flood damage! Amazing.

In Mel’s case it sounded like a real connection had been made between herself and the receptionist that went beyond ‘customer loyalty’. I have in mind that Mel had made her mark there, and the receptionist was only to happy to help out. She might even have been using the ‘loyalty’ card to excuse herself for doing so!

I was reminded of a story about a customer that did not deserve special treatment. An angry and irate passenger at check-in was being extremely rude to the clerk, who responded to the abuse with tranquil goodwill.

The next passenger, appalled, asked the clerk how she had managed to keep her calm.

“Easily! He’s going to Beijing. His luggage is on its way to Rio!”

16 Traci York { 07.10.17 at 1:08 pm }

I’d have the same waverings – it’s nice to be recognized for your loyalty, but at the same time, we all know what it feels like to be standing outside the window with our noses pressed to the glass (so to speak). I agree with Lori that maybe it would be better to say something more neutral (“You’ve been such a loyal customer, let’s see if we can accommodate you”) rather than being so up front about bumping other customers around. Then again, it sounds like she felt like she was talking to an old friend, not a customer, which puts it in a different (more positive) light. In any case, happy travels!

17 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.10.17 at 4:17 pm }

I think many good things come from being in Relationship with someone. There are responsibilities, and also there are perks.

18 Mina { 07.10.17 at 4:44 pm }

Loyalty should be rewarded, of course. As for considering other people’s preferences, let me tell you that in the HORECA industry things work quite differently than what a normal person thinks they would. Read Heads in Beds. You’ll get a perspective from the other side of the till. But seriously, don’t sweat it. Favours that do not come in exchange for a tip, coming from a hotel, restaurant or a catering business mean that you are liked and appreciated, or know someone who is. If they couldn’t do it, you wouldn’t get it. And no one is getting the short stick. What we think of sticks are actually balls. πŸ˜‰

19 Jivf { 07.10.17 at 6:42 pm }

I see nothing wrong with rewarding loyalty as long as it doesn’t take away from anyone else. Doesn’t always work that way, but such is life.

20 Inexplicably Missing { 07.10.17 at 6:57 pm }

Rewarding loyalty makes good business sense… One would hope that it is done within reason so that new customers are not treated poorly in order to reward return customers… but treating any customer badly just wouldn’t make business sense either. I think in this scenario you have nothing to feel guilty about πŸ™‚

21 Jess { 07.10.17 at 8:09 pm }

Hmmm. I love this story, that they remembered you and you are longtime “clients” of this hotel, so they moved people around to accommodate the multiple beds. It probably didn’t put others out so much, I mean we get rooms that happen to have two beds sometimes and we only need one, so if they gave a one-bed room to people who didn’t need the second bed, that’s okay, right? I’m all for loyalty perks, and we go back to the same places because they feel so homey to us and sometimes they will make special exceptions. Like our Mexican restaurant, which doesn’t take reservations under a party of 6, but when we had tough news or were super sad we could call ahead and they would reserve a private back table for us so we didn’t have to be with other people for long. Which is pretty special. So live it up and assume that the shifting hurt no one else while it benefited you, I say! πŸ™‚

22 Symanntha Renn { 07.10.17 at 8:43 pm }

Loyalty should always be rewarded!!

23 katherinea12 { 07.10.17 at 9:06 pm }

Interesting question. I think loyalty should be rewarded to the extent that it doesn’t severely inconvenience or harm other customers. It makes sense to keep loyal customers happy given the 80/20 principle as discussed above. It sounds like your shifting didn’t probably have a major impact on anyone else’s plans. Hope the trip goes well!

24 Chandra Lynn { 07.10.17 at 9:18 pm }

This is a tough one. Loyalty should be rewarded as long as it’s not at the expense of others. It doesn’t seem anyone was inconvenienced in your case, so accept the favor with gratitude. 😊

25 Chandra Lynn { 07.10.17 at 9:19 pm }

This is a tough one. Loyalty should be rewarded as long as it’s not at the expense of others. It doesn’t seem anyone was inconvenienced in your case, so accept the favor with gratitude and without guilt. 😊

26 torthuil { 07.10.17 at 10:35 pm }

I’m okay with rewarding loyalty. But you have to be careful you don’t end up with a system where certain people think they are entitled to favours and/or regular customers don’t get treated fairly unless you are someone “special.” People know when the deal is cooked and it’s not good for morale or trust in the long run.

27 loribeth { 07.12.17 at 9:46 pm }

I agree with the majority opinion here… it’s nice to reward loyalty, but not at the expense of others. It never hurts to ask for what you really want, though. We had a recent getaway at place we’d stayed at before (a long time ago, not recently)… I booked online & it seemed that only their smallest/cheapest rooms were available, even though I was willing to pay more for a larger/better room (if not necessarily the largest & most expensive). I got an email confirming the reservation & emphasizing that I should contact them if there was anything they could do to make our stay more pleasant (activity suggestions, dinner reservations, room upgrades). I emailed back to say I was under the impression we got the best/only room available, but if there was an opportunity to upgrade (a cancellation?) we would be interested in the option. I didn’t mention that it was our wedding anniversary, although I suppose that’s a card I could have played. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I got an email back saying they had done some juggling & upgraded us to the next-level room for $50 more per night. I am sure the original room would have been just fine, but the one we got was great, and I am so glad I asked! πŸ™‚ So I think most places are happy to try to accommodate you if they can, even if you’re not already a loyal customer — because someday you might be. πŸ™‚

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