A couple of weeks ago we stayed in a Hampton Inn on the way from our old house to our new house. We got in late and crashed immediately. The next morning when we awoke, I decided to hop on the free wireless internet to check my e-mail, read a bit of news, and check hotel prices at the next stop along the way. Much to my chagrin, it was down. I’ve stayed at that particular hotel in the past and have sometimes had a tough time picking up a signal in the room, but the connection itself has always been great.
When we (and by we, I mostly mean my wife) got the kids dressed and headed down for breakfast, I stopped by the front desk and mentioned to the clerk that the internet was down. He replied that he was aware of the problem, and that hopefully they’d have it back up later in the day. Having been deprived of my morning internet, I was a bit grumpy, and replied that later in the day wouldn’t help us much as we were headed out within the hour.
His response? “Would you like your room for free? I’d be happy to take care of that for you.”
I responded that a free room seemed a bit excessive, as everything but the internet had been great. But he persisted. “No really, it’s not a problem. Let me just take care of that for you.” And so he did.
While the room had started off at something like $119/night (plus astronomical taxes), we walked out without paying a dime. Not only had we slept perfectly well, but we also took advantage of their complimentary breakfast (for six, no less). To be honest, it felt kind of slimy, as if I had somehow pulled on over on them. As it turns out, this is just business as usual for Hampton Inn, where they promise:
Friendly service, clean rooms, comfortable surroundings, every time.
If youâ€™re not satisfied, we donâ€™t expect you to pay.
Thatâ€™s our commitment and your guarantee. Thatâ€™s 100% Hampton.â„¢
I’ve always felt that every little snafu is actually a tremendous opportunity for a company to win over a customer. In this case, it definitely worked. Not only am I now a huge fan of Hampton Inn, but I’m also singing their praises publicly.