Eighteen months after the start of the pandemic, travelers say they continue to encounter misleading and bogus promises on hotel websites. They complain about finding elite-level lounges, free breakfast, or aperitif-hour receptions with snacks unavailable, sometimes even when hotels claim they’ve been restored.
Some road warriors say they regularly call ahead now to find out what the hotel has cut. Customers often only see compensation for service outages after complaining.
The biggest difference between business class rooms and regular rooms at Radisson hotels is breakfast. It is included with a business class reservation, but not when paying regular fares. Except that many American Radissons still haven’t reopened restaurants, so every customer gets a breakfast to go.
“Business class is reserved when the restaurant is open and you get a cooked breakfast, not right now,” says a front desk worker at the Radisson Schaumburg, Illinois, near Chicago.
Someone should let the Radisson website and reservations department know. The chain was still selling business class rooms at higher prices on Tuesday afternoon. A one night stay this week costs an additional $ 5. But book five nights in mid-November at the Schaumburg Hotel and a king room costs $ 94 a night, while a king room in Business Class costs $ 219 for the same dates. For that money you basically get bonus points and drink vouchers.
Radisson did not respond to requests for comment.
It is not always clear whether the service cuts are due to Covid-19 safety precautions or cost reduction. Some hotels offer hot buffets on weekends, when full, but no hot breakfasts on weekdays, when occupancy is lower due to low business travel.
Roger Hooson, a recently retired San Francisco Bay Area planner, called the Hyatt Regency St. Louis. They told him the restaurant had reopened and that he would get a free breakfast, as it is one of the best in Hyatt’s loyalty program. He arrived earlier this month and was told yes, the restaurant did reopen, but not on the days of his visit.
“It’s a changing target,” he says. A Hyatt spokesperson said hotels were trying to find alternatives for eligible World of Hyatt members when free breakfast was not available.
Hotel chains have almost universally posted notices on their websites indicating that certain amenities may not be available at certain properties due to the pandemic. But explore the offers at specific hotels, and often nothing has been updated.
“We are now past the point where the pandemic is a temporary excuse,” says Jay Sorensen, consultant to travel agencies on branding and loyalty. “In today’s environment, it should be so easy to effectively convey what is and is not happening property by property, and it is not.
Mr Sorensen believes that many hotels undermine the credibility of their websites and apps as sources of accurate information about properties, as well as how people perceive their brands. If your brand is free hot breakfasts and you don’t consistently provide them, you’ve got a problem.
Mr. Sorensen recently ended up at a Staybridge Suites hotel near Minneapolis. The brand, a unit of IHG, is known for its hot breakfast buffet and evening happy hour with appetizers that can serve a light dinner to guests. The Social, as it’s called, is still featured on the Staybridge website and still listed as amenities at the Staybridge Suites Minneapolis-Bloomington. Except that it is not offered.
In a statement, IHG said it continues to work with hotel owners to adjust services while respecting Covid-19 restrictions, and marquee programs continue to be restored. “The vast majority of our hotels are independently owned and operated, and we work with them to ensure that any offers or amenities presented to guests booking through our channels are accurate,” said IHG. “If a guest finds out that they are not benefiting from the advertised experience and services, they should contact us and we will work with the hotel to correct it.”
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Some Staybridge managers have responded to complaints on Tripadvisor saying full breakfast buffets and evening receptions have been suspended and will return. But they didn’t post this on their own booking site.
Traveler Laura S. was one of many Tripadvisor users to complain about the lack of breakfast at Staybridge Suites Florence-Cincinnati South: “There was no hot BFST at all, no eggs, bacon , sausages, nothing !!!! “
On the IHG website, this hotel’s page with photos, rates, directions and amenities reads: “Enjoy a free hot breakfast buffet every morning of your stay and a social evening.” Monday to Wednesday with a light starter / beer and wine in our large room. . The top of the page reads, “Important announcement. You may experience changed amenities and services when each hotel fully reopens.” An IHG spokeswoman said the company was trying to restore the hot breakfast. to the extent possible.
Hotel losses during the pandemic have been extreme. Properties suffered from labor shortages that made it difficult to provide services such as daily housekeeping or loyalty lounges. The American Hotel and Lodging Association estimates that the industry lost $ 49 billion in business travel revenue in 2020 compared to 2019. It is also close to ending with $ 10 billion in corporate travel revenue. less business this year compared to 2020.
Frequent travelers worry that many of these standard amenities are probably gone for good.
Karl Chang of Richmond, Va., Who retired during the pandemic but continues to travel frequently, says he avoids full-service Marriott because his titanium status no longer provides him with conveniences such as a small- free lunch or lounges for loyalty members. Takeout offers often boil down to high-calorie breakfast bars and other processed foods.
Instead, it’s now gravitating towards limited-service hotels that still offer free breakfast for everyone, albeit with reduced deals.
Some hotels will compensate guests for reduced amenities by offering bonus points or even gift cards for future stays.
“This is something you have to ask,” Mr. Chang says. “Hotels may not offer these additional benefits. “
Write to Scott McCartney at [email protected]
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