You can see it all starting to change – things are getting better and inevitably the prices are starting to creep up and the special deals are disappearing. The free glass of wine or soft drink with your lunch is gone – the bill has crept up €5 per person.
We use a particular hotel (our second home!!) on a regular basis in Dublin. In the depths of the recession they were glad of the business introducing keen rates for Corporate clients and a loyalty card system that rewarded you with free nights every time you stayed 10 times.
The room rate has crept up and 10 times has crept up to 13 times and the free upgrades to the better rooms don’t happen anymore – the reward for loyalty is less than it was because they don’t need this ‘loyalty’ as much anymore.
Recently we rang to make our usual booking and it happened to fall during the Dublin Horse Show week.
“We have vacancies but we can’t give you the corporate rate. That rate doesn’t apply at busy times” the reservations person explained.
“Excuse me. The hotel isn’t full, the event is happening and you have vacancies. We stay with you in the depths of winter when the place is half empty” Logic wasn’t winning as we tried to make our point.
“Sorry, we have a new policy”
We resorted to jumping over that person’s head and having a quiet word with the manager who we have got to know quite well and he negotiated a rate closer to what we normally pay. We shouldn’t have had to make any phone call but as I already said, things are changing.
Initially we were angry and frustrated. You think about finding a new place to stay but this hotel is close to the office and its convenient and in truth we all just have to ‘suck it up’ and realise that things improving means that your custom just won’t be as valued as it once was.
However, we now feel different about that place and if there was a better option we would definitely have switched to it at that point.
If you are increasing your prices and squeezing up those deals try to do it in such a way that doesn’t let your ‘loyal’ customers feel like their loyalty was pointless – you’ll want them in January!