On a recent trip–which I will soon have a trip report for, I visited Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Tokyo for 90,000 miles on a US Airways award.
I had two award nights and a suite upgrade to use from signing up for the Hyatt Visa last year. Thus, two of my stays were at Hyatt properties–the first at the Grand Hyatt Dubai, and the latter at the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
Yet the customer recognition I received at these two hotels was a world apart. Don’t get me wrong customer service was excellent, and the Japanese are incredibly nice. It’s just that I left the Park Hyatt Tokyo with a sour taste in my mouth when leaving the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
Loyalty programs, in my opinion are not about meeting needs, but rewarding customers by going above and beyond. If I perhaps do seem over-entitled, than when given why else would I repeatedly stay with one chain, when given the choice? As many others do, I vote with my wallet, and if I don’t get the response I feel that I deserve, I walk away!
To give Hyatt it’s due, I feel I should describe my great experience at the Grand Hyatt Dubai. At check-in I was informed that I had been upgraded to a Deluxe room, which was rather spacious. And I didn’t even ask!
Grand Hyatt Dubai Deluxe King Room
Even the closet was spacious!
In stark contrast lies Exhibit B–the Park Hyatt, with its lack of common sense.
My understanding of how a loyalty program should operate is exemplified best in a Delta TV ad from 2012. It’s about “Never letting the rules overrule common sense.”
See, I staid at the Park Hyatt Tokyo–regarded as one of the finest hotels in the world. I had an award night to use, in addition to a suite upgrade, which Hyatt allows to be used only on paid stays. Rates were a little pricey (~$420 or so, though normal for Tokyo), but I was willing to pay a premium one night in exchange for the full benefit of the suite.
Which, in all fairness, was a rather large room. After I used the suite upgrade, I was suddenly dismayed that the suite was only 100 square meters…. That is, until I did the conversion and realized that’s over 1,000 square feet. Large by any standards, and certainly Japanese standards!
Anyway, in voting with my wallet for Hyatt, I felt obliged to have Hyatt go above and beyond by allowing me to stay in the suite for my second, award night.
THINGS GO SOUTH…
But after being checked into the hotel in the suite (which was great!) I was informed there would be an issue in extending my suite experience. I was on a discounted rate already (a whole $30… whooptey do) I would have to pay an additional amount of $300, despite the suite being available.
Initially I tried to understood it from the hotel’s perspective, but the more I thought about it this was an egregious offense by the hotel, and one that the hotel, its staff, management, and the entire Hyatt brand should feel ashamed of.
By not allowing me to stay–for free, in the suite for the second night, they were deeming me not important enough, especially when they did not end up selling the suite.
I did bargain with the staff a fair amount–and on more than one occasion, and eventually got the fee down to $200. I had trouble justifying that for a single night, especially when I figured I would get little use of the room.
I don’t think I was rude, yet their policies resulted in having a down-graded (standard) room the following evening. I am not one to be thankless, but this left me feeling worthless and not welcome.
And it’s not like I don’t have clout–what I would call cumulative customer buying power, which I have accrued from having both Platinum status with Hyatt and using their co-branded Visa card. In other words, I’ve vested a large personal interest in Hyatt.
Which is where I think Hyatt failed me. In contrast to other loyalty programs, like their competitor Marriott that I love, adore, and hold status with, they allowed simple rules to get in the way of going the extra mile. The suite was available and unoccupied, but they deemed I wasn’t important enough.
Hotels that only meet basic needs may be fine for some, but the decision of the Park Hyatt Tokyo to belligerently
refuse to do the right thing for me means that I am likely to walk away from the Hyatt brand altogether. I don’t believe you’re important enough to me.
And Hyatt, if you happen to be reading this, the only way I am likely to stay loyal to you is if you offer to refund ALL room charges from my stay. Fair enough?