I been to many nice hotels, travel to various countries, stayed in Bed & breakfast, caravans, to log cabins and stayed in some beautiful hotel in Singapore.
I decided to do a charity event to raise money for Tommy’s baby charity and have never experience the lack of support from a venue provider before, where did the not bothered attitude come in from a hotel chain that insists it puts the customer first, and the most shocking thing is I complained about the policy and because I did, have been told they will not allow me to do a other venue ever again.
Even explaining that my aim is to raise cash for a project and my plans to start a non profit.
They have since offered to pay my giving page £200, see below my complaint and this offer and help me decide what to do? As I am left here wondering why a chairman would write such a response who proclaims that the customer comes first. If he so eager to pay up £200, now what happen to customer care, we do not want your business as we feel we can not meet your expectations?
If the company had bothered to read my complaint, they would of clicked onto my blog and notice my report of my evening and notice all the money and hard work I done in the last year, all I wanted was a few leaflets putting into rooms, and for them to help advise people who were staying at the hotel they were welcome to my do.
You would think that a grand hotel would of been eager to gain as many guests as possible and to encourage them to stay in on a rainy night…..
So I totally wasted time in complaining, and wonder what is the point if the end result is, we cannot be bothered to get it right, here is £200 good riddance, we care about saving babies lives so much and put our customers first, surely the response would be, lets invest in improving how we deal with external functions that are working with local people to raise much needed case for important charities, and not only do we make money for the hotel chain, we encourage the people that do these events to go away knowing we cared about there custom, and not just about earning a quick buck.
Question is, should I just quit as what is point of me caring and going out of my way to raise funds when I cannot get local businesses and major hotel chains interested.
Does the nearest town near me, really take this attitude or I am the worse ever customer and my expectations are far too much?
Please tell me what you would do, do you think this is a response of a chairman of a major hotel chain or his secretary, and how do I respond? I am totally lost for words 😦
Thank you for reaching out to me following your correspondence with the Palace Hotel.
I have discussed your comments at length with the General Manager, Joel Fagg, and understand that as much as we would like to help you raise money for this worthwhile cause we are unable to deliver on the expectations you have for the Hotel and the support you have requested from the team. I would like to apologise if you found any members of my team anything other than helpful and professional.
Ciara, we successfully support hundreds of charities each year and we work with a countless number of volunteers who give their time for their chosen cause. We fully appreciate how important and personal some causes are to our organisers, and within reason, will do all we can to help deliver a successful fund raiser.
It is important to state that the marketing of any event is the responsibly of the organiser and we are unable to provide any marketing services through our various channels.
Having looked at your requirements and the level of support in terms of planning and marketing you require we are regretfully unable to host your event on this occasion; however we fully support the invaluable work Tommy’s does and therefore hope that you will accept a donation of £200 to Tommy’s.
If you have a Just Giving page, please let me have the details, if not, we will make a donation on your behalf directly to Tommy’s.
Thank you for your time, we wish you the very best in your fund raising.
Thanks for responding to my message, I am writing to say that I have been left totally speechless by your hotel chain and I now fully understand why people do not complain, I find it appalling because your hotel in Buxton have informed me that my custom is no longer wanted. Which is extremely embarrassing I was about to go to the media in regards to a update on how much I raised to date, and report about my last event the the evening at The Palace Hotel in Buxton on the 22nd June 2013.
I was informed you did take my complaint seriously, yet my views and opinion’s have not, if someone just took me seriously you see that I am right, and the behaviour and the mannerism the way your staff have dealt with my complaint is extremely poor. I brought to your hotel approx 100 clients, (58 diners the other just came for the entertainment only) overall a spend of £1160 on food and approx £590 if not more on the bar, I raised for the charity only about £700, I raised more after the event, hence why it states on my blog, my complaint had valued points which has been dismissed by Bernice Heard your Group customer relations manager at PUMA hotels and I feel the points that I raised on the phone as stated as follows dismiss, I must confess my first written complaint after the event was not the best, as I was stress, but had thought your customer manager Bernice understood after our conversation over the whole marketing issue, sadly not as it seems the best way you can deal with this is not to offer me a service, these are my points for what it is worth;-
The things that could of done more to promote the charity event, organised by me for free for the charity but in doing so promoted your hotel as follows;-
1. Advertising on your webpage of upcoming events
2. Sharing my marketing leaflets in rooms, you shared a external event for a previous charity night in the town, yet the golden opportunity to high light event in the hotel which would of provided free entertainment for yourselves to offer to your guests at a cost of £6 per person, which all was going to the charity.
3. Having the leaflets on the front desk near the tills, instead they were in a pile at the end of reception desk where no one saw it.
4. To tell people who were booking in about the event, yes I am a external customer coming in for a event, (I kept being told this was the reason for not helping promote this) but the event is not personal, it is a charity event, everyone that I had at that venue except for a couple of friends, were all strangers to me, until I sold your hotel, and your food to encourage them to book.
5. On this evening, I found out that you had offer guests who’s reason was staying was that they had a deal of £95 for a double room / twin which included an 3 course meal for £95, when I asked for discount to help encourage people I knew to stay over, I was offered a deal at over £110 per room.
6. Also no one informed me you had a leisure centre open to the public, no one encourage me to let me use this for advertising a event at your hotel.
7. When asked about sending info on my event to your corporate clients was informed due to the confidentiality you could not give any details, but I did my uppermost to explain that surely a hotel of your status has a email newsletter, but totally was made to feel daft for even suggesting this.
8. Twitter & Facebook when asked why you do not promote whats happening in your hotel, again was dismissed saying you did not have a face book page yet your events team failed to say you had a twitter account. I only found out nearer the date.
I was informed that most of all the above was due to your company policy hence why I took the time to complain. And I would also like to point out that your advertisement in your brochure is mis-leading,
1. It states you show case the charity in the lobby I had to do myself, even though your leaflet it stated you provided a show case for the charity, you did not do this.
2. It states in your leaflet you provided a photographer, in this case, the hotel should of provided a photographer and not give me excuses, you knew about my event and I informed you I was not going to cancel in plenty of time, the last event was cancelled by you not me, this failed to provide me to raise even more funds for the charity. I had a friend do some photography but it was not as the package deal as she only stepped in to take photos of the evening.
1. The attitude of your event team member Leanne in regards to having the High Peak Suite was out of order, and everyone that came to the evening agreed I made the right decision. I was informed the day before the event that it would not be possible to have the larger room although your floor team said they could not see this being a issue, as all that was a curtain to be drawn across, and it was not a issue as after having to complain to your hotel manager this was made possible.
2. Attitude on menu choices, I asked if I could have a posh fish & chips as the menu rather than a 3 course meal as the idea came from seeing other venues do this for charity events was had entice others to come, one being an other 4 star hotel and I was informed this was not possible, the reason I asked for this, it would of brought the price of the tickets down and invited more local people to the event, as my complaint from locals who loved there food said they simply could not afford a 3 course meal yet would of like to gone to the evening but was out of there reached, had it been posh fish & chips, most people I spoke to said this would of been more appealing.
3. I requested to leave the orders open until the day, and again there was a massive issue, I did prove my point and gained an other 8 people to dinner, and this would of been more if the reception staff had just taken customers order, instead it was instructed they had to call me to ask if it was okay to come for dinner, in which I did receive a call, but proven that calling me, was clearly put off the potential customers.
4. I had to ask for my outstanding bill, a few weeks after for these EXTRA 8 meals, I was expecting this on the Monday after the event. Evidently your events team were assuming to point out reasons why not to do point 3, which to my mind is outrageous. Why would I not want to pay for this, and I am confused at why the hotel would not want to encourage hotel guests to stay in the hotel, my point has highlighted a way you can make more money by simply offering a evening that has been at no cost to yourselves in regards to the entertainment as it had been covered from the money I had received from ticket sales, the weather that evening was raining, and you had almost a full hotel, there were guests who came in after the band approach them as no staff in the hotel had really promoted this, and they stayed for some time. Had your team just taken a step back, this room would of had more chances of being to full capacity, sales on drinks would of been a extra bonus for the hotel.
5. Attitude of your customer service manager Bernice, I felt was very poor, as she informed me that she knew what it is like to lose a baby, this was terrible thing to say to me, and to say she knew because her friend did, trust me, when a women loses a baby in labour, no one knows how it feels till it happens to them, and to be informed this during our conversation of my first complaint took me back, and when I was informed that my complaint would not get to you, and it would be her writing on behalf of you and would be from her and the hotel manager, I felt extremely poor service, surely it is in the hotel chains best interest to take on board my comments. I like to make it clear ‘ To lose a baby in childbirth, you never get over’ you just learn to live with it, I am one of the lucky ones who has since been blessed with a 2nd daughter who mange to live, the thing that drives me to raising the money for Tommy’s is I know it will help others avoid my situation, and by doing something about it, does help.
6. The floor staff as I said previously in my last complaint were outstanding, and that is the only reason why I decided to approach your hotel again for a other charity event.
7. The first event was cancelled by your events team, even though I had 38 diners and around 12 people for entertainment including the local MP. I was also told off for not signing a contract, as if the contract was the means and ways of going forward, yes I agree you are a business but consideration must be taken in for charity workers especially when it states you charge 90 percent of the meals if people do not attend, knowing that you hold venues on a ongoing basis you do not particular lose out it a few people do not, yet a charity worker, who works for nothing has the chance of losing out more, reputation and money.
8. In my complaint after the event, it was to say I was upset that your hotel made a big issue about removing the charity table for Tommy’s the next day especially when I went in, and it had just been moved to the side, it did not cause any issues with your wedding show, it was simply a small table as you see from the photograph with information and a giving tin.
If your staff could look at the bigger picture I have given your hotel free advertisement since February, in every paper, on the radio and even though I been disappointed with your event’s team, overall I see the bigger picture and I am using my own time which I am not paid for to raise a profile of a charity that helps more people than you will image. As you know yourself Buxton is a declining town, and I would of thought the hotel would encourage local people like myself to use the hotel on a regular basis.
While promoting the charity evening and your hotel on the streets of Buxton, at various venues I attended and on social media, the following was highlighted to me;-
1. The food was tasteless
2. The attitude and service of staff was poor.
I took a massive risk and did not taste the food before hand as I was told it would take 2 weeks to do for some reason, however after attending the evening totally disagree with the general public that stated the above.
Feedback from the people that attended the evening stated this;-
1. Food was great
2. All enjoyed the hosting by me and the entertainment.
3. People would come back to my next event.
3. Service of drinks was poor as not enough staff serving.
4. No table service of drinks at the table.
I would like to point out that I have worked in hospitality previously and I am well travelled especially staying in four star hotels, and it is proven when you serve drinks at tables, more drinks are consumed. The reason I complained, and the whole point of high lighting the above issues is because I care about my local town, I care about the future of all people that will attend my charity events, I care about what comments were made about my local hotel, and if you just sat back and took my complaint seriously and respected my customer views instead of building a brick wall and coming back in defensive attitude, and just learn from this event, and look at ways you can make it a great experience for the end user, surely you must care about what your customer views are and do something positive and surely you want to prove that you can give me a more positive experience, it is easier to say no, it easier to cancel things than to have to prove you can do things right.
As I said above, I have been informed I cannot use your venue again, I must say I have never in my life been barred from using a venue before in my life, and it saddens me that you have, I do the work for Tommy’s baby as a volunteer and do not get paid, my aim is to raise over 60k plus for this charity and in the process of starting a non profit company to invest in maternity services in local area and to support women throughout the UK, and really prefer to have companies on my side, yes I except a high service, yes I expect people to do there jobs and make me feel like a customer and my money is just as good as any one else. To say I was actually tempted by booking my wedding reception here too as I was really impress with your floor event organiser Trisha, but you would after receiving a email to say your custom is not wanted. I may never be as rich or wealthy as others in this lifetime and I never to be treated the same as your corporate guests, as I am just seen as other charity worker ‘a external customer’ but I do know that I am determined to make events as held in your hotel, bigger and better, seeing as it was out of my comfort zone and made lots of mistakes, however I did it in the end with out help from the venue, which is not at all easy, overall I did not do a bad job as everyone enjoyed the evening.
It is a shame that your staff cannot get in the mind set of saying, do you know what I want to work with this customer again, and we to say we can fulfil your needs, but it is clear that the attitude is, we cannot be bothered. Except for your floor manager Trisha, who organises setting up all the tables for the events, she even offered to help me with the next evening event, I know now why she did not get in touch with me, as your events team and hotel manager have clearly made a statement, it is a shame they can not see her vision and the potential. Overall focus is not that I am just a external client, that I am a customer who seeks to bring business your way, a bit of support and advertising of events on your webpage, really is it that difficult for Puma hotels to do?
I may be a nobody at this moment of time, and the simple next door mum and a humble buyer in my paying position as I work part time as well, but I am also a person, and to be barred from using a venue simply because you cannot be bothered to try to please me, is extremely poor attitude and not a great business moto. The only positive I have is that I raised £6368.15 in just over a year, and yes I am disappointed I did not raise as much as the hotel did on this evening, but I do know that after that evening I helped others as my advertising and running these events also consists on directing people to receiving the right help when it comes to pprom awareness and maternity.
A kind offer of a gift for a raffle prize is worthless, unless the doors are open for me to use the venue your again, it is not a proud moment to tell everyone you been barred from using a venue simply because I made time to tell you my concerns. Next time I will not bother, and simply learn not to use any puma hotels in the future, do you really want that?
I like to thank you for taking the time to read this email and I hope this time my points are taken into consideration as I am sure you can agree, that some of the above points are worth looking at, even the simple thing of advertising the charity or any upcoming events happening on your webpage, I spoke with the lady who is doing the cancer research charity evening at the hotel in October, and if you ask this customer what she thinks of the assistance of the hotel has been like previously, I know for sure that she say a lot of points I have, you can make this event a lot easier for her, by simply advertising and being the box office as the sample on the other hotel chain link I provided above.
The next event I am holding I was hoping to do during the day, which is a total different from the one I held, as you may know, organising a event is extremely hard work and the assistance from the place you book does make a massive difference, It looks like my 2nd choice venue cannot assist till next year.
I have to end this by saying that I am still in shock that your hotel statement, and not sure what to say in my article press release as I now feel totally deflated that your hotel does not want to do business again, not the outcome I wish to have as I want to look back and be proud of what I have done.
I trust you will find the above of interest and I hope to hear of a better response than I received before, after all, every issue can be resolved if you put your mind to it.
Tel no: 07877 075976
( Please note I am dyslexia therefore apologise for any grammar mistakes )
Subject: Tommy’s Event
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2013 18:34:20 +0100
Thank you for the email. I am sorry you are unhappy with Leanne’s reply.
As we spoke about at the time of your last event we take all feedback very seriously and never aim to fail to deliver what our customers expect. Based on this though I do not feel we would be able to fulfil your requirements for a future event. I would not want us to take on event that we could not fully deliver the customers expectations on. I feel after the disappointment you felt at the last event that for us to host another event would not be good for either party.
We would be happy to donate a raffle prize of a spa day for two people to support the charity at future event but we will not be able to host the event.