Room for Improvement
Monique Kazer spends quite a bit of time on the road in her job as a salesperson for a company specializing in audiovisual equipment for convention hotels and centers. She works long hours, often dines late at night, and returns to her lodging place late, sometimes after midnight. Monique has asthma and is very sensitive to cigarette smoke, so she always requests a nonsmoking room at her hotel or motel.
Several weeks ago, tired after visiting three convention hotels, in Newark, Jersey City, and Hoboken, in one day, Monique arrived a few minutes after midnight at the Hospitality Inn, where she had a guaranteed reservation. The Hospitality Inn was a unit of the major chain with which her firm did business because of the deep discounts offered She checked in and headed for Room 315, looking forward to a hot shower and good night’s sleep; tomorrow was going to be even busier. As always, she checked the door for a no-smoking sign. When she entered, the smell of cigarettes, or possibly cigars, mixed with air-freshener spray, almost made her sick. She began to cough, and her throat started to close up.
She quickly backed out, shut the door, and returned to the front desk. At least she didn’t have to wait in line at that time of night, thank goodness for that. Desk agent Hyun Cho had a magazine open on the area beneath the counter that she used as her desk, but she was not reading it because – as Monique saw it – she was obviously talking to a friend on the phone. She glanced at Monique a couple of times but continued to talk on the phone, making it clear that Monique would have to wait her turn. Ordinarily, Monique would have waited a few moments, but tonight she was not in the mood so she employed her last-ditch technique for gaining attention in such a situation: She reached over the counter, took the phone out of Cho’s hand, and hung it up. The service encounter went downhill from there.
Monique didn’t even give a red-faced Hyun Cho a chance to mention the phone hang-up: “I made a reservation for a nonsmoking room, and you people put me in a room full of smoking fumes. Just change my rook and we’ll let it go at that.”
Cho was a fairly conscientious night desk agent, and she had actually been talking with her babysitter, but she was still steaming from having the phone taken from her in mid-sentence. Hyun said nothing, checked the hotel records with a glance, and then said to Monique: “That is a nonsmoking room!”
“Check again, Ms … (looking at her name tag)… Cho. The room smells like a pre-war stag party.”
“I don’t care if it smells like hell warmed over. I don’t need to check again, Ms … (looking at the registration card)… Ka-Zer. I can read and I know my rooms and I can tell you that Room 315 is for nonsmokers.” She concluded triumphantly, “We changed in over last week!”
Monique whispered the first curse she had uttered in a year or two, and then said “Just move me to nonsmoking room that has been a nonsmoking room as long as you have been open.”
“No, problem, Ms. Ka-Zer. (pause) Usually. But tonight, I’m sorry, we’re filled up.”
Monique tried to have the room fee canceled, but Hyun refused. “If you don’t show up until after midnight, it’s actually the next day. No cancellations or refunds under any circumstances after midnight.” She played her hole card: “Company policy.” Then she added, “You ought to do something about that cough.”
Monique left – tired, defeated, and still coughing – and headed out into the night to find another room, if she could. If not, there was always the back seat of the rented Crown Vic.
1. How would you have handled this situation if you were Monique Kazer?
2. How would you have handled this situation if you were Hyun Cho?
3. What devices described in the chapter might system planners have used to prevent this service failure, and how might they have used them?
As Monique Kazer rushed through the exit of the Hospitality Inn lobby, she almost knocked manager Roberta Morales down. Morales recognized Monique from previous visits and knew that Monique’s firm gave Hospitality Inns across the region a lot of business. Morales realized that something was wrong and suspected that the something was a service failure.
“I’m the inn manager. Is there something I can do for you?” she said to Monique. She heard Monique’s side of the story, took her to the cocktail lounge bought her the beverage of her choice and asked an assistant manager to chat with Monique while she went back to the front desk. After hearing Hyun Cho’s side of the story (“she yanked the phone out of my hand and slammed it down”), Roberta Morales headed back to the lounge. She would speak further with Hyun Cho later on.
1. In a later chapter, you will be reading about some techniques for handling service failures. For now, what steps might you take to retain the patronage of Monique Kazer (and her entire organization)?
2. What steps would you take with regard to Hyun Cho and the failure at the front desk?
3. Using some hypothetical but realistic numbers, how much do you think it might end up costing Hospitality Inns if manager Roberta Morales is unable to recover from this failure and ends up losing the patronage of not only Monique Kazer but her entire firm?
This case study is for Managing Quality Service in Hospitality. Answers should be one page, word processed and double-spaced. It should be well analyze the situation and present the arguments