By August 7, 2007 7 Comments Read More →

Our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience?

I have some juicy updates to my earlier post, The Westin Prince: A case study in incident management (or, mismanagement).

A note was slipped under the door of my room. The letter is made out to “Dear Guest” and offers that they “take great pride in our hotel”. The next paragraph opens with “Please accept our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience during our recent power situation”. WOW!!! They completely missed the point. They failed to apologize for knowingly putting the safety of their staff and guests at risk since they had a similar failure of their emergency power in May, and for having not done anything to prevent a reoccurrence. Once is a mistake. Twice — within four months — is gross negligence. And to fail to acknowledge it?

It gets better. After two long conversations in which hotel managers committed to at least some form of discount to me, management failed to update my account or communicate any arrangements with front desk staff. So, as of this moment, the Westin Prince hotel has failed to honour any of its own commitments to me and has made me pay full price for my stay.

I took my concerns to Westin’s head office this morning. After several hours they, too, were unable to make contact with management of the Westin Prince hotel. As a result, they informed me that they have had to escalate to the General Manager of the hotel.

It sounds like the Westin Prince hotel’s problems run deeper than just taking a gamble on the need for working emergency systems.

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About the Author:

Mark Blevis is a digital public affairs strategist and President of FullDuplex.ca, an integrated digital communications, public affairs and research company. His work focuses on the role of digital tools and culture on issues and reputation management. He also leads research into how Canadian opinions are shaped through online content and interactions.
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  • http://www.markblevis.com Mark

    The management of The Westin Prince hotel has given me a very acceptable discount on my bill. They’ve also offerred to have their director of security contact me to follow up on my concerns. I’ll keep you posted.

  • Kim Whyte

    It really sounds like you were looking for problems – I was there that day and I found the staff very empathetic and they bent over to help find us alternate arrangements. I was doing a business inspection of the hotel for a meeting and several of the managers made the difference for me in actually choosing the hotel for my September meeting. I too was given a discount for my last night there – something they did not have to do considering it was really only 2 hours out of the day and did not effect my over night with them at all.

  • http://www.markblevis.com Mark

    My full-time work in risk management for the last twelve years has been to identify issues surrounding risks to personal safety (among other risks). I can honestly say that I wasn’t looking for problems as much as the problems were quite obvious to me.

    In my follow-up with hotel management earlier today, they indicated that their problems with failed emergency systems and inadequate response procedures may date back to this past March (not as recently as May as I had indicated).

    From my vantage point, the issue is not the two-hour inconvenience that resulted from a series of misfortunes; the issue is that the hotel is knowingly unprepared to deal with emergency situations and did not engage emergency services when necessary (staff member trapped in dark elevator for 45-minutes, etc…). Indeed, they may be in violation of several fire codes.

    I feel confident that the hotel is serious about addressing issues surrounding its emergency power systems and response procedures. I understand that they may keep me informed during this process.

    For the record, I am not providing The Westin Prince Hotel, nor its parents or affiliates with any consulting services.

  • Pingback: The Westin Prince and a blogger: A case study in communications and customer relations

  • http://www.markblevis.com/ Mark

    My full-time work in risk management for the last twelve years has been to identify issues surrounding risks to personal safety (among other risks). I can honestly say that I wasn't looking for problems as much as the problems were quite obvious to me.

    In my follow-up with hotel management earlier today, they indicated that their problems with failed emergency systems and inadequate response procedures may date back to this past March (not as recently as May as I had indicated).

    From my vantage point, the issue is not the two-hour inconvenience that resulted from a series of misfortunes; the issue is that the hotel is knowingly unprepared to deal with emergency situations and did not engage emergency services when necessary (staff member trapped in dark elevator for 45-minutes, etc…). Indeed, they may be in violation of several fire codes.

    I feel confident that the hotel is serious about addressing issues surrounding its emergency power systems and response procedures. I understand that they may keep me informed during this process.

    For the record, I am not providing The Westin Prince Hotel, nor its parents or affiliates with any consulting services.

  • Whozitt

    had similar problems with the westin in tampa fla.  Recurring noise in our room may it unpleasant and impossible to sleep while there.  I am still waiting for the manager from that hotel o get back to me its been over a week and am preparing to write a letter to head office today.