Hilton Hotels Complaint - Customer Service Fiasco Rant
My fiance and I booked a block of rooms for our wedding at the Homewood Suites because the location is perfect for our reception. Booking the hotel was quite easy, however things quickly took a downward turn. According to the assistant manager Steve, the contract that we signed stated that the booking required a block of 15 rooms, and 60% of them were mandatory. We felt that we had been told the booking was for 10 rooms. Unfortunately wedding planning can involve a ton of decision making and stress, so it's hard to say for sure at this point if we were told 10 rooms or 15... but no matter.
We never received a copy of the contract so I can't read it to be sure what the wording is anyway. It was evident a month or so prior to the wedding that we were not going to be able to fill the required space so we began calling to speak with Laura, who had put our reservation together. She did not call us back. We tried for literally weeks to get her on the phone, but she continued to ignore us. When the wedding was 10 days away I was finally able to get Laura on the phone by acting really friendly with the girl at the front desk, at which point Laura told me that there was nothing I could do to change things because it was so close to the wedding. When I asked her why she didn't call us back, she lied and said that she did, and had spoke to my fiance. She then told me several times in a robot voice implying a scripted response and a well-rehearsed emotional detachment, that if I had the names of additional people who would be staying that she could take their reservations. I didn't really know what to do at that point because I honestly wasn't sure where the miscommunication was coming from, so I told her my fiance would call her shortly. I wished her luck with that, and she laughed and said, "thanks".
After hearing her peculiar laugh, I had the thought that she knew something I didn't. In retrospect I think what she knew was that she would be somewhere else for the next couple hours to avoid some phone calls. Once again, when we called her back a little while later she didn't answer her phone. We left a message, and then called back and asked for the assistant manager Steve, who also did not answer his phone. After an hour of not receiving a call back, I called back and was transferred to the manager, who also did not answer. I decided at that point that I needed to be a little bit firm in my request to speak to a live person.
I called back for the 6th or so time, and I demanded to speak to a manager, telling them an answering machine was simply not good enough this time. I was finally transferred back to the assistant manager Steve, who was in his office. I asked Steve about the contract, which he said was for 15 rooms. I then asked him why we did not receive calls back earlier, as Laura had stated that if we had been able to speak to someone, the block could have been lifted. He told me that their employees are very busy with giving tours (which of course nobody was available to give us when we stopped in originally), and do not sit in their offices all day answering phone calls. At this point I became rather upset. He then explained to me that he was a new assistant manager, and that he wasn't working there when we signed the contract so he had no responsibility in the matter. I told him that just because he wasn't working there when we signed the contract didn't mean that it wasn't his job as assistant manager to help me. It felt at the time that he was enjoying our conversation, I kid you not. He sounded content in the knowledge that a contract was a contract, that he didn't have to help us if he didn't want to, and I am entirely convinced that the worst thing about it from his perspective at that point was that I managed somehow to actually get him on the phone. I expressed these views rather sarcastically and he told me he was upset with my language, though I hadn't swore at him at all. I decided to call him on this, and tell him that he was being a jerk. I figured if he's going to criticize my language I might as well be earning it to some degree. He then told me that it was me that was being a jerk. I don't think that's one of the three sentences he memorized in the customer service manual, but he was trying to think on the fly so you gotta give him points for the effort. I figured that if Steve is calling me a jerk, our conversation should probably end, so I then asked him if I should speak to his manager if, in fact, his manager had been there when the contract was signed. The idea of the situation getting ran further up the flagpole must have struck a chord, because he then told me that I might as well just cancel everything because it was obvious he wasn't going to be able to help me. This was the first time anyone had suggested this was an even an option. I said fine, cancel everything... I was starting to get a whole new level of upset and felt the need to get off the phone quickly before I said something horrible. Steve verbally agreed to delete our block of rooms, but also said he would delete the reservations of my guests that had booked there and now I must call them and inform them that their hotel reservations have been lost. When I cooled off and called back to check the names of the guests that I would have to do this for, I was informed that the reservations were still active. I guess Steve must have took off for the day before he had a chance to finish deleting my reservation. Overall, I understand that a contract is a legal binding document and that by signing it we subjected ourselves to the mercy of the hotel in such a case. However, if you do book here for a wedding, do not expect for the staff to care about you. Do not expect the staff to return phone calls. Do not expect the staff to answer their phones if there is a dispute and they are expecting your call, or to call you back. Do not expect them to be pleased when you finally get them on the phone. Do not expect even the lowest common denominator of service from this group, because you will not receive it. They do not care about customer service, they will ignore you and hope you go away, and if you finally act mad enough to the front desk to actually get someone on the phone... expect it to be somebody who is not only disinterested in helping you, but is annoyed that you demanded so strongly to speak to them that the front desk actually listened to you. Expect that they will use any excuse they can to avoid responsibility for any problems that exist. Expect them to try to talk over you or through you, in the attempt to "solve" the problem by frustrating you to the point that you give up. All in all, booking these rooms was by far the worst experience I have ever had with any hotel in my entire life, and I've stayed in European hostels. The fact that I won't be staying there is the best thing I can say about it, because these people just simply don't care and at this point I'm pretty sure they'd try to screw me over somehow just for kicks. If there was any way that the telling of my experience could influence people to choose a different hotel, I would do it... and it's a nice day and I could be at the pool instead. I like to have fun in my free time, but I'd waste an entire summer day of my life to spread the word about how Laura and Steve treated us 10 days before my wedding. It sucked that bad.