Hotel Glasses get Chain in Hot Water

2014-01-28 by Ronn Torossian

hotel glasses ronn torossian

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.

About Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities