I don’t typically name actual names when I am critiquing some marketing faux pas. If there is a point to be made, identifying the brand isn’t usually the point. But I am not sure how to hide the identity of today’s center of attention, so here goes, names and all.
I joined the Ambassador Club of the InterContinental Hotel Group, specifically for the benefits that would accrue to the long weekend my family and I were spending in one of their high end hotels. (The group owns or manages many different names, from their highest end InterContinental brand, to Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.)
The Club offered a free weekend night, and the cost of joining was less than the actual hotel room price, so I figured I would be way ahead of the game. Plus they offered other perks.
Well, the complimentary night never happened, and I won’t bore you with the “He said, “ “She said” details. But I did get a nice room upgrade, as promised, and a late checkout, which they had also had touted in their invitation to join the Club.
They also proudly offered, as part of their exclusive benefits—while they looked forward to making my experience as rewarding as possible—“complimentary fresh fruit and mineral water.” More specifically, “Refreshments will always be waiting in your room upon arrival, with mineral water replenished daily.”
Yep, that’s the fruit and water image above. Two apples and a banana. Shrink wrapped on a plate. No basket. And one lonely bottle of water (never replenished during my stay).
Remember, this is at one of their top tier resorts, not their Holiday Inn Express. Makes you feel kinda special, doesn’t it?
This article in Bloomberg news certainly puts it into context: InterContinental is trying to cut costs at all of its hotels until business travelers, one of the main sources of revenue, return to the market in greater numbers, IHG Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cosslett said in an interview on Aug. 11. “If you make small savings, such as the amount of food on the buffet or the different types of apples or even taking the pool temperate down one or two degrees, it does make a difference,” he said.
While Mr. Cosslett didn’t mention the complimentary fruit plate by name, he is indeed correct. It does make a difference. But probably not the kind of difference he was thinking about.
Got the idea?
P.S. Can’t resist adding, verbatim, part of the response from the hotel in regard to the free night. Count the typos, errors and basic illiteracy and win a prize: You have raised matter of being misinformed by hotel hence, our representative immdiately to contacted the hotel to show our willingness to be an assistance as always