No, it was actually not at a Park Hyatt or some other top tier brand! But, it was still a great hotel check-in experience and with one of the best front-end associates I have ever dealt with at a hotel. It is always easy to call out the bad things at properties or with airlines but I do like to make a point of pointing out some of the standout service when I observe it and this was one of those times.
A Great Hotel Check-In Experience
Last week, my boys and I were in Paris for the Paris Air Show (and got to see the new Qatar Qsuites in person) and we did a little hotel hopping as I burned Hyatt certificates. The first night was at the Park Hyatt Vendome (finally stayed there and review will be coming – but maybe a little different than what you may expect) and the second night at the Hyatt Regency Étoile.
This hotel check-in experience did not take place at the Park Hyatt (though it was very professional and cordial) but at the Hyatt Regency Étoile. The associate that handled us at check-in was what made it so great and different from my normal hotel experiences and this is how she did it.
Sincerely Apologized for Renovations
The Hyatt Regency Étoile is undergoing quite a renovation right now so that means you will have somewhat of a maze to go through just to get to the hotel lobby – for now. There are also other changes you will notice if you go there, including some rooms that have not been renovated yet (though ours was).
I have stayed in a number of hotels that were undergoing renos or had some construction nearby and am accustomed to hearing the standard apology for the noise and inconvenience. But, this particular hotel associate was so outside of the typical hotel standard-speak that you could tell she was honestly sorry for the inconvenience and really felt bad about it. Not only that, but she made sure to tell me right away how it would impact my stay and what I could expect as a result of some of the construction (things like no club lounge so where we could go for snacks and breakfast).
This was not a let-me-get-this-one-out-of-the-way but a personalized apology and explanation of the situation and I really appreciated it. It makes such situations more bearable as a result of having things explained up front.
Recognition of Hotel State and Status
We were talking for a few minutes about Paris and what we had done and when she heard that we stayed at the Park Hyatt the night before, she lightly apologized again that they “were not at that same level so I hope we don’t disappoint!” Also, she mentioned that the hotel had recently become a Hyatt and that they were still “working to be at that standard of Hyatt” in many ways but that they had not quite attained it yet.
I like that – it was not some hotel trying to act like they could compete with their bigger category brother hotel but also letting me know that the property has not reached its full potential yet and was still trying to work hard to make the Hyatt brand proud to have them in the portfolio.
I have stayed at many hotels that had staff that acted like their hotel could have no problems and that any price they charged was completely justified. Sorry, but that is just not the case and it again helps to ease into a stay and set expectations when a representative is so forthright and clear with how the property is handling itself as it works to do better.
Yes, it was not the Park Hyatt but I actually really loved our stay there and thought it offered more than the Park Hyatt in some respects. So, I would not be so quick to look down on it as a Category 4 when it does have a lot going for it – and will have more as it finishes the renovations.
Getting away from the typical check-in boilerplate continued as we talked about other cities we had visited and mentioned the various hotels we had stayed at. We had a couple of other Hyatt stays in common and she was excited to stay at a Park Hyatt the next week that I stayed at last year and she asked a bunch of questions about that one.
Also, her knowledge of Hyatt properties was much better than some other associates I have spoken with. She knew about some recently opened Hyatt properties as well as some category changes that had occurred with some hotels.
Again, it was just so pleasant to not be treated like “Next” and instead have a real, personal conversation about the hotel, our trip, her trip, and other travel tales. There were no other customers waiting behind me so she was not taking up someone else’s time but it certainly set a good tone for me as she even went to take us to our room.
Hotel staff can certainly help to make or break a stay and this particular associate at the Hyatt Regency Étoile certainly went beyond what is the standard check-in talk and it helped to make our brief stay at this property start on a great note. Hotels should feel good about having staff members like this as it can help to make many guests feel more comfortable and feel more like they are staying at something more than just another chain hotel property.
Finally, it also can help if there are problems as a guest is more likely to approach the staff with a more subdued attitude than if the hotel staff member had acted like it was just one more person staying in a room. So, it can work well for hotel as well.
I will mention that I am a Hyatt Globalist (having earned Diamond for renewal and converting to Globalist this year) and it is possible this was elite-style treatment but I did not feel that was it at all.
Have you had similar interactions with a hotel associate? How did it help with your stay?