Cold comfort

So a little bit of snow descends
and once again the country goes to pot. The effect on our business is immediate
as a group 45 staff from our
German office whose Friday flight to London on Friday for a teambuilding
weekend coincided with the arrival of the white enemy. After waiting five hours at
Dusseldorf airport they were told the flight was cancelled and so the trip had
to be called off. Needless to say it was not the German airport that was
unprepared for the snow….

On Sunday I read in my newspaper how a frustrated sales representative from
Toronto vowed not merely to boycott British Airways in the future, but never to
set foot in this country again, such was her dismay at our inability to cope
with the weather conditions.  She ended
up re-booking her flight to Canada with BA in her come country because the UK
site and call centre had closed, an extra aggravation that left her vowing to pay
as much as CA$500 more in the future to bypass Britain with a direct flight, than
rely on our capacity to support his travel plans. Another stateside observer
noted that six cm of snow in this country seems to be the equivalent of six foot
over the pond. Sadly on this occasion I am unable to indulge in my usual
sarcastic reaction to American indulgence in size superiority in fact, it’s
probably more like 10 foot.

Another poor traveler reported how his misery was compounded when one of
our leading hotel chains ripped him off for the princely sum of £289 for a room
that he would normally expect to pay £95 for. This is not industry behavior
that we can be proud of.  Yes, I
understand how price moves according to supply and demand, but this is not the
same as exploiting a situation that drives a short term surge in distress
purchasing. Making the purchase yet more distressing for the customer, in the
pursuit of a fast buck, is not a practice that will serve hotels well in the
long term.

Another snow and service tale, this
time both poor and good, came from a colleague who had to abandon their plans
for taking the family to Wicked on that same Friday. Travelling from
Hertfordshire simply was going to be too dangerous, if not impossible, so he
called the well- known ticket agency in the hope that a re-booking might be
arranged. After being kept on hold for a total of 12 minutes the answer was a
resounding no, with full blame laid at the feet of the Apollo Theater in
Victoria. Unlike the many who would have
thrown in the towel, my colleague called the theatre, where, much to his
family’s delight, he got a completely different reaction. ‘Andrew’ in the booking office could not have
been more sympathetic and happily re-arranged the seats for a Friday in
February. Cheers for the Apollo, boos for the ticketing agency and perhaps a
lesson for the unnamed hotel chain referred to above.

In our business, we are dealing with customers every day, who need to get
from one place to another and then expect a certain level of service at the end
of their journey. Occasionally stuff happens that makes life a little tricky, but
I’d like to think we and the partners we work with are reasonably well prepared
for it, we manage it with good grace and above all, we never take liberties
with our customers.

When it gets a little cold, warming the heart is still within our gift.

Any comments? Email conferencenews@mashmedia.net

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author

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ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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