Taken from today's Costa Levante headlines: "Britons arrested over fake hotel compensation claims." This strikes a chord with me as I worked in the hotel and catering business for over twenty-five years and have just about seen it all.. Everybody is familiar with the ole "fly in my soup" ploy. As hotels cater to the general public it follows that just about every type of person will pass through your lobby including those who try and get something for free.
To be a survivor in the hotel business you have to try really hard to impress the travelling public. If you aim for Five Stars to your name that means in the mind of your guests that they will experience the ultimate in comfort and luxury. To the hotelier he is expecting the very best in behaviour from his cultured guests. It does not always work out that way.
First there are the genuine la crème de la crème visitor who will be rich or super rich and cultured. They will pay your top rates and they quietly demand the very best. They tip the staff well and are welcome back at any time. If all hotels existed to cater to this class of visitor the hotel business would be an absolute joy. But no, life is more varied than that.
The travelling public is made up of those people for whom some require that the price be right and others who look for quality, and others who are not clear at all as to what they want. Perhaps the largest group of all are those who check in to hotels only to be a real pain in the ass to all the staff. They seem to get their joy from bossing people around and trying to extract every iota of freebie the hotel has to offer. However in every country there is an hotel association and its members regularly meet. Can we imagine that they share their experiences and that even those stories get around internationally, so often while the traveller is concocting his scheme at home the hotelier has seen it all before.
It's true that they will tolerate nuisance claims just to get rid of the problem with their reputation intact. Probably if your claim stays under $5,000 you may get away with it with the top hotels. They can insure against that as a cost of doing business. However, I often wonder about the Bed ¨N Breakfast club where very few people actually work. Often these are run by two people and their profit margin is paper thin. It is so easy to threaten to make a false claim against these people who work so hard that it must break their hearts.
There are so many people like that who really don't know what they are doing and what the risks are, but they have a go anyway. Then they take in the wrong visitor and they encounter a very unhappy experience and suddenly they shut down. Very sad!
Even at the top end it's not unusual for your guests to walk out having packed those wonderful robes and towels. You really wouldn't want the people to come back, but you would like to get your towels and robes back.
That headline in the paper alluded to a racket that drew departing visitors to enter into a scheme to defraud the hotel. Third parties encouraged them to make false claims and to share the ill-gotten gains. Sometimes things do not work out so well for visitors and it becomes incumbent on the hotel to make that experience good for the visitor, but when a scam is being run against the establishment it is enough to make you want to give up.
This Summer it is hoped that your travels will be pleasant and you bring home lasting and wonderful memories. Should you be contacted and asked to partake in a fake claim scheme it's important to remember that the hotels are starting to fight back. Enough is more than enough!
On a hopeful note it's good to realise that the vast majority of people who check into hotels are good, solid honest people who only want reasonable value for money, and a smile. Long may it last.
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