The Wife and I have a small weekend trip planned over Valentine’s weekend, so I went on the Interwebz a few weeks ago and booked us a hotel room on the intuitively named hotels.com. I was happy with the hotel and the price. It was all good.
Fast forward to earlier this week, when I received an e-mail from hotels.com advertising their special deals for February. I decided to check it out in case I could find another hotel with a lower rate. What I actually found was the same room on the same dates at the same hotel I had booked a few weeks ago – for considerably less.
It was still all good though, because hotels.com has that nice little “price match guarantee” that they hit you over the head with about fifty billions times while you’re searching and making reservations. Certainly their promise to match any price I can find on the web would extend to their own fares, right? I mean – they are on the web.
So I fired off an e-mail to their customer service address. And I got back this jewel of customer service in return.
In short, hotels.com wasn’t going to match a price I found on their own web site. Now I understand that they’re a business and they’re trying to make as much money as possible. I’m not expecting them to notify me or automatically lower my rate if they hold a sale after I’ve already made a reservation. I realize that it’s up to the customer to do the comparison shopping and stay on top of all that stuff.
But if a customer has done that and then gone to the trouble of contacting you directly to ask you to honor a promise that’s slapped all over every piece of marketing you churn out, shouldn’t you try to help them out? I guess not.
In the end, I just canceled the first reservation and made another one at the lower rate. It’s not really that big of a deal, but it did create a minor inconvenience for me and left a bad taste in my mouth.
In the time it took their customer sevice rep to write (or copy and paste) that e-mail, he/she could’ve just matched the rate for me. In fact, it probably would have taken less time.
Customer service isn’t always about going the extra mile. If a customer puts some fish in a barrel for you, go ahead and shoot ‘em. Creating hassle (for both you and the customer) where hassle need not exist is just bad business.
End of rant.