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The problem with service

It never fails to astonish me how some businesses fail so completely at providing even just a basic level of good service.

the problem with service

On a recent visit to a well-known hotel chain, I walked into the impressively large reception area to be ‘greeted’ by “do you want to check in?” No ‘hello’ - not even a smile. The place was huge and there were many doors to which could or could not have led to my room, so I dared to ask which door I might take. The answer was simply “over there” and a vague pointing of the finger to what could have been one of three options.After struggling to find the staircase at all, I finally made it up to my room, somewhat perturbed by the reception I’d received, but glad to see my room was up to a good standard. I later ventured down to the spa, where the staff were friendly and the facilities helped me wind down for the day.


I slept well in a comfortable bed and awoke refreshed the next morning, only to realise I’d misplaced some important documents needed for the day ahead. I was on a tight schedule, but wasn’t panicking too much as I was sure I’d left the documents at reception when checking in.

To my dismay, the unhelpful member of staff was once again on duty. As I checked out to the same unfriendly treatment I’d received the day before, I asked if my documents had been left. The reply I got was “if they’d have been left, we’d have let you know”.

Walking slowly away, without being too obvious, I tried to have a little look over the reception desk, but alas, I didn’t want to undermine anyone, so continued on my way out to the car park. Ten minutes later, the car had been searched thoroughly. Next up I searched my bags, and lastly I went back up to the room and checked every nook and cranny. They were no-where to be seen.

My last resort was to ask the hotel reception to print off my documents via email. A different member of staff was now on duty and as they opened up the email attachment, a look of realisation dawned on their face and they reached down to my documents, sat there on the reception desk, where I was so sure they’d been all along. “Are these yours?” I was incredulous that this had been allowed to happen, and as a consequence I’d lost 45 minutes of my day.

Needless to say I later complained to the hotel and will not be using them again. First and last impressions are so very important. To me it doesn’t matter that my room was great, and the spa was fantastic. The service was so bad that it overshadowed any positive feelings I had towards my stay.

What measures have you got in place to ensure your service is always top notch?

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