When will hotels and other tourist services realise that “service with a smile” is not an option, but a requisite for our industry?
Had a group at The Palace for a night and I was fortunate enough to have a cup of coffee with Tour Leader in the huge, grandiose restaurant. Chatting to him (and unsuccessfully trying to get a waiters attention for a cup of coffee) I noticed how surly the staff were! I then made it a point to look around in the restaurant as well as in the entrance reception hall and found exactly the same thing. What is it with the staff at the Palace? The have an air about them of supposed superiority and are generally very below average. If one of them cracks a smile, it is completely in error or they are laughing at one of the guests (this was also noticed by the guests who thought their money was wasted on such an unfriendly place). Oh, by the way, the Protea Hotel group’s coffee is way superior! The guests also commented that the Palace is starting to show its age (broken lifts, slow lifts, plumbing giving problems and the infrastructure starting to creak and in need of urgent attention).
Another hotel where the staff were particularly unpleasantly unfriendly and in the mode of headless chickens, was at the Crowne Plaza Rosebank Hotel. The coffee also crappy and the service awful. Serious staff training needed (with one or two exceptions). Why are the staff so seemingly so unhappy in their jobs? In these days of huge joblessness, it is inconceivable that once employed, the staff seem to fall into a pattern of barely doing what is required of them. I had to intervene in an incident where the reception staff was in a spat with one of my guests, telling him that he owed them money for a dinner when I had taken them out for dinner that same night! Eventually I asked her to bring the rooming list where the group had signed in and we compared all the signatures only to find it was someone else’s signature. A mumbled apology and she disappeared.
A complete contrast was the staff at the Royal Hotel Country Inn in Dundee. The staff was cheerful and happy and absolutely honest as when a they found a euro and dollar stuffed wallet which had slipped out of a pocket and between some cushions. We were phoned and asked please to let the owner know (they read his name off the credit card) as they were so worried that he was frantic about the loss. One for the countryside and this hotel in particular. This little hotel continues to impress with the levels of service and friendliness encountered over numerous visits.
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