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Is Integrity Vital?


I have previously, some time ago, used a large Hotel Chain as a venue to hold one of our business seminars. The event went well, the staff at the location were very supportive and the phrase “all’s well that ends well” springs to mind. That is because when I initially arrived they knew nothing of conference room booking, the regional office had not informed them of the booking even though I had received confirmation via e-mail. Luckily a room was available that accommodated just about the right number of people and breakfast was conjured up in the nick of time.

About a month later that specific venue changed ownership to another chain of hotels. A few months later I met the regional rep from the original chain at a networking event. He asked me if I had used that venue again which prompted me to relay the story of the day once more (the incident occurred whilst he was on holiday). Then came the excuse. That was because I couldn’t tell you that they’d been bought by another company and they were in transition. Nothing to do with me. I smiled politely and asked when the handover occurred. To which he replied “that week”. I pulled a face and asked if he was sure. His face momentarily dropped and he asked what month the booking was in again… It was almost two months before the change.

So what was the outcome? The reality is I now have a perception issue with the original chain and not with the new owners of that venue. Which is a shame. It could well be that the transition process had begun and that it was causing issues but the instant “wiping of hands” over it, then the distortion of the facts to support the nothing to do with me response have done more damage to my perception than the events on the day. In fact, in many ways the manner of how the day was swiftly and thankfully seamlessly recovered in some way makes me more likely to go back to that venue as we tend to remember positive fixes to negative issues even more than simply getting the result we had always expected. If the regional contact had simply stated something along the lines of “oh, really sorry to hear about that, apologies. The transition may have caused a few issues but even so, really sorry about that as we took your booking….” then in effect both parties would have gained a loyal supporter. Instead, I would now have two think twice about using the original chain.

Acting with integrity is vital when dealing with issues, problems or complaints. In fact a problem resolved the right way is as good a selling opportunity as you can find. I use the same plumber I have always used for the last 20 years for that very reason. When there is a problem it is his issue to resolve, and I am never left feeling penalised as a result.