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Don't let a donkey answer the phone

By JAMES COAKES Published 9th May 2016
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I organise events which means that I telephone hotels most days. It astounds me at how difficult it is to speak to someone helpful at the average venue.

Today I have been trying to place a dinner for 80 people with a budget of £100 per person. I have telephoned three London hotels and at two of those the person who answered the telephone could not tell me whether they had enough space to cater for 80 people. One told me they would ask someone to call me back. That was an hour ago and guess what? No call. The other offered to put me through to someone who would be able to help me and I was transferred to a voicemail.

It may be that these hotels are so busy that a booking of £8,000 just does not matter. The more likely answer is that wages in the hotel industry are fairly low and many people just do not care. If you run one of these businesses, or you are a shareholder, should this worry you? How many significant bookings are your hotels losing? Do you even know if this is happening?

Would it not be sensible for anyone who is in a telephone answering position to know the basics of the business and be motivated enough to treat enquiries with respect?

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