Recently, there have been a rash of videos revealing things hotel guests and restaurant diners would often rather not know about. When this sort of thing comes to light, it often brings with it a quick and contrite Public Relations message from the offending party. But, when a national news agency put hidden cameras into hotel rooms, the results forced major changes at a few major hotel chains.
The responses themselves can create both positive and negative PR that can be even stronger, and more poignant than the negative press itself.
In the hidden camera story, four chains were tested to see how cleaning staff took care of their in-room glassware. In most cases, the “cleaning” was either insufficient, or downright disgusting. Glasses cleaned by gloves that had just cleaned a toilet. Glasses cleaned using window, or sink cleaner.
Some glasses just rinsed with plain water, and dried with a dirty towel. Not a good look. As expected, frequent hotel guests looked at the video, and made a mental note to pack their own drinking glasses. Others just decided to avoid the offending hotels altogether.
As for the responses: Two of the hotels completely changed their policies, going with plastic, single-use glasses, and 86’ing the offensive glassware completely. One chain said they would “address the cleaning practices of their staffs”, but offered no specific changes. And the fourth chain hotel said they would “look into” the matter.
Of the four responses, which do you feel best addressed customer concerns? Which would you feel more comfortable staying in? And, most importantly, which chain showed the most decisive care, and concern for its customers with this response?
The lesson here is clear: How you respond matters — Your customers are always watching.