Mad Customers and UFOs: Why Hampton Hotels Are Number 1
Did you hear the story of the Hampton Hotels guest who took advantage of the chain’s 100%, no-questions asked refund policy?
She complained the UFO’s outside her window kept her awake all night.
She got her money back.
Or, as USA Today reported, how about the guest who asked for a refund because the cows mooing outside his window disturbed his sleep?
No wonder Hampton Hotels has just been rated Number 1 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s recently released poll, The Top Ten Franchises.
They deserve it.
It started a few years ago when Hampton Hotels decided to build, not a better mouse trap, but a better alarm clock.
You see, they knew that travelers like me find hotel room alarm clocks a mystery.
We have no idea why "staticy" music suddenly blares when we’re trying to set the alarm. And we have deep distrust that the alarm will work once we’ve figured out how to set it.
According to Entrepreneur, Hampton reviewed 130 clock radios on the market, and finally created one with icons, a “no fuss MP3 jack,” and that was simple to use.
Great news, but the mid-level hotel didn’t stop there.
Under the leadership of Phil Cordell, Hilton’s Hampton brand global manager, the chain offered free Wi-Fi, the no-questions asked money-back guarantee if guests are displeased for any reason, and waffle irons in all of its hotels.
Cordell acknowledges that any hotel can replicate the innovations, but as he sees it, “Our friendly, positive culture is almost impossible to copy, especially in a franchise environment.”
This year Hampton added nearly 100 units with locations in Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and Central America, bringing the total number of units up to around 2000.
And how’s the |money back guarantee going?
Cordell says that actually only four-tenths of 1% ask for a refund, and that the “good will” generates 7 bucks for every dollar refunded.
Next year, Hampton intends to install software that will let it eavesdrop on social media conversations including Trip Advisor and Facebook so they can address guests concerns as they’re expressed.
UFO’s not withstanding, Cordell believes Hampton is positioned perfectly. As the economy improves, he’s sure guests will stick with Hampton, rather than go back to higher-priced accommodations.
You never know where an alarm clock can take you.