Yesterday was an interesting day. I’m in New Orleans meeting some old friends for the weekend. The plan was for everyone to stay at the Omni Royal Crescent Hotel. We had a great rate, and it’s a convenient location. Omni has a loyalty program, but it’s not really something that interests me given their location footprint. Furthermore, they don’t have transfer partners. Anyway, I’m writing this post from the hotel next door, which is called Loft 523. Somehow, Omni messed up our reservation, then managed to redeem themselves over the course of a very strange day.
Here’s the sequence of events that led to our group being moved to Loft 523:
10:00 am CST: We’re on a layover in Houston when I get a call from a Louisiana area code. Upon answering, a member of the Omni staff asks me if they can slightly change our reservation. Essentially, they asked if we would be alright with two of our rooms being adjoining King Bedroom suites instead of completely separate standard Queen rooms. I confirmed twice that both people would have their own sleeping space and bathrooms. Of course this sounds like a win, so we agreed.
11:30 am CST: Upon landing in New Orleans, another friend in our group had already made it to the Omni. He was told the same thing I was. We’d be upgraded to the adjoining King suites. No rooms were ready yet, so he left his bags and walked over to Bourbon Street to wait for us.
12:30 pm CST: I arrive at the Omni. Our rooms still weren’t ready, but the staff offered to pre-check us in. They did that, authorized my card and said we’d get a call once the rooms were ready. No big deal. We took off to grab some lunch and check out the surrounding area.
3:15 pm CST: We still hadn’t heard from the Omni which was odd. Maybe they had just forgotten to call us to say the rooms were ready. We decided to head back and check it out. A few of us were hoping for a nap since we arrived on a very early flight out of Phoenix.
Front Desk Problems
3:30 pm CST: Upon entering the lobby, I asked the front desk about the status of our rooms. He started looking at the computer and seemed confused. He then summoned a manager who took a look. Then both of them disappeared to talk around the corner, clearly about our situation.
They both returned to give us some bad news. Apparently the adjoining King rooms they had promised were already given to other guests. Additionally, they didn’t have three rooms to give us in the entire hotel. The only thing they could do was provide two King rooms with roll away beds. They didn’t include any compensation at all with the offer. You can imagine the looks on our faces when that was suggested. We told them in no uncertain terms that we need our own rooms. The manager said that they would start making calls to other hotels in the area to check availability. In the meantime, they offered us free drinks in the lobby bar while we wait. Fair enough.
4:00 pm CST: After enjoying a drink at the bar, the manager returned with an update. They found space for all of us at the neighboring Loft 523 boutique hotel. The Omni said we could stay there for two nights, and then return for our last night. Apparently Loft 523 didn’t have space for our last night. I quickly took a look at Loft 523 online and it seemed like a decent enough replacement, despite so-so Tripadvisor reviews.
We tentatively agreed to the change, but I asked if there would be any sort of compensation for being pushed to a different hotel, then having to return a few days later. Amazingly, the manager told us that all of our rooms would be paid for by the Omni. Wow! That’s great customer service. Even better, I was placed in the Penthouse Suite at Loft 523. As you can see, it’s quite the room and patio combination!
The Omni Royal Crescent turned a bad situation into a win. I don’t have any knowledge of hotel booking systems, so it’s hard to speculate how this happened. While the Omni’s first offer of roll away beds (without compensation) was borderline insulting, the follow up solution is a home run. It’s always a great feeling when a company goes out of thei way to compensate customers for their errors. Thanks Omni, despite the lackluster points program, you’ve got a new fan!