Hotel Security BreachBack to Forum
Anonymous16 May 2011
I cannot believe what I am reading .
Today I sent the below email to a hotel in Manchester
Dear Sir / Madam,
I wish to advise you of some goings on at the XXXXXXXXX Hotel.
As you may be aware this hotel has the cabin crew of xxxxxx Airlines staying there on a daily basis.
One of the crew who is my friend, arrived yesterday off a flight from XXXXXX.
As he wouldn’t have a UK / roaming mobile on him, I called the hotel reception to be connected to his room.
I was then advised of his room number despite the receptionist not really knowing who I was. I could have been anyone pretending to get a room number and this is a safety breach.
Furthermore when I actually got through to my friend ( Room XXX ) whilst we were talking, another of his colleagues called my friend’s room and was able to listen to part of our phone call and then apologised for disturbing us.
As you can appreciate, XXX are paying a lot of money for their staff to stay with yourselves on a daily basis. If I were to escalate this to XXX Head Office, then I can confidently say they would look to take their business elsewhere.
I thought I’d give you a heads up to brief your staff to never give out room numbers over the phone.
Also the issue with call interference must be looked at immediately.
I shall call the hotel in a few weeks and if I am given a room number during the call, then XXX Airlines will be contacted in XXXX.
Regards and best wishes ,
THIS IS MY RESPONSE FROM CUSTOMER SERVICES
Many Thanks for your below email.
With regards to staff giving room numbers out over the phone this is perfectly fine, Staff on switchboard are there to pass calls on not to be a PA for the guest.
There is no security breach with regards to this.
With regards to the interference of calls we have received no complaints, I.T have checked the phone lines and everything is in perfect working order.
Many Thanks for your comments
I THEN REPLIED
What on earth ? Do you feel you have replied professionally and taken the time to really read my email ? How dare you patronise me and make me out to be a liar. What a loser
AND I THEN GOT
We will be in touch with XXXXXX AIRLINES to discuss them not using our hotel in future.
DOES ANYONE FEEL THIS DATA PROTECTION ISSUE IS ACCEPTABLE ?
WOULD YOU LIKE SOMEONE TO CALL YOUR HOTEL AND BE TOLD YOUR ROOM NUMBER ?
AER THE RESPONSES I HAVE HAD REASSURING IN ANYWAY OR REFLECTIVE OF GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE ?
Does anyone feel the responses I have had are justified and acceptable and look like they ar ferom an organisation that cares about guest security ?
I am appalled to be quite honest.16 May 2011
I think the issue may well be in the ‘tone’ of your Email to them. It looks from the outside as if you are threatening the hotel as opposed to trying to alert them to an issue.
Perhaps a discreet phone call to the duty Manager might have had a better response.
You then go on to accuse them of being patronising, and infering that you are lying, (which I do not see in their responses to you) all the time taking an aggressive stance including the use of capitals which, in writing, is generally recognised as SHOUTING.
I have to confess to being unimpressed with their phrase about desk staff not being PA’s but other than that, I think its the tone of your note which is not professional at all (in my opinion, you did ask)
ST16 May 2011
I think I am inclinded to agree with seasonedtraveller. You have gone in on the attack threatening something which essentially you don’t have control over.
Whilst their response could have been better, I can see why you received the reaction you did.16 May 2011
Admittedly I was angry when I emailed Pie in the sky Hotels.
However in the cold light of day I have read and re read the above email and just can’t see where I have been rude or threatening.
Would anyone who feels I have been rude etc like it ,let’s say if they a are a cabin crew member and they have a scrap with a passenger onboard. The flight lands and Mr Disgruntled Passenger wanting revenge finds out which hotel the crew are at and asks the room number of …………………………….? Do you see where I am coming from ? You can’t misuse guest details this way !
Can you imagine if my friend worked for El Al ? There would be pandemonium and certainly the contract would have been pulled yesterday itself. We all know how El Al protect their assets and it is very stringently. So why would another airline’s staff be treated any less ?
I don’t appreciate that hotel staff can be so lax with data protection and I certainly do not apologise for highlighting some losers bad attitude when replying via email on behalf of Customer Services.
Customer Services are there to build rapport and reassure customers not fight fire with fire.
On the back of the above , I contacted 3 of my contacts in 3 of the major worldwide hotel chains and here are their responses :
IHG ) We would never give out a guest’s room number and we take extra care with crew members.
Rezidor ) We would never give out a room number. It is company policy.
Starwood ) It is not company policy to do give out room numbers.
watersz it was certainly not the Hilton Deansgate.
NTarrant I used to work for the same airline and have Head Office Contacts so I certainly do have some control over this issue.
I am waiting for Pie in the Sky Hotels to get back to me and xxxx Airlines Head Office will certainly hear about this.
It has been implied by their response that I am a liar reference the phone interference issue. They have said everything is in perfect working order and there are no problems ?
How can this person say such a thing when barely 24 hours earlier the very issues I mention happened ? It is of course being made out that I have just invented that I have of sorts made this all up.
Also the parts in Caps Lock from DOES ANYONE FEEL THIS DATA PROTECTION ISSUE IS ACCEPTABLE ? onwards are for BT forum members, I certainly did not write in Caps Lock to the hotel chain concerned.
All this charade that people are putting up of me being rude is laughable. It is amazing that anyone finds it acceptable for a hotel to behave this way. It is ludicrous that me highlighting all this makes me the bad guy !17 May 2011
Whilst it may be the case that the original approach by skyguymanchester could have been made in a slightly less confrontational way, it does not excuse the fact that the responses were sloppy, dismissive and wholly lacking in any professional appreciation of the failings that were highlighted. It is, simply, one of the basic rules of hotel keeping that guest details are not divulged in such a cavalier way.
I think the hotel concerned should be named.17 May 2011
Skyguy – Had you just said that you had tried to contact a friend staying at the hotel and that his room number was given out and there were other people on the line that would have sufficed. Followed by just saying you are drawing to their attention, then if you received the reply you did then you would rightly be not happy about it. I agree that room numbers should not be given out.
When you respond to their reply you finish it by saying “What a loser”. Had you not sent the email when you were angry then perhaps in the cold light of day you might have reflected and put it in better more friendly terms. Now you are not able to esculate this to a higher management level as your original complaint lacks credability.
Having Head Office contacts are not quite the same as being the one who actually decides who stays where at XXXXX Airlines, therefore you don’t have the clout you think you might have.
I’m afraid you have reapt what you sowed, the moral is never write a complaint in anger.17 May 2011
I agree with Esselle.
Whatever the tone of the complaint, a professional response should be given.
The aim is to retain the customer and perhaps to turn him into an ambassador. A win-win, and all quite possible. The art of complaint handling as practised by top-notch establishments, large and small.
As for naming the hotel … maybe.
(I assume it wasn’t the Sofitel, Times Sq,).
Bill in Hants17 May 2011
“I think the hotel concerned should be named.”
Please, it will go straight onto my blacklist.
Giving out names and room numbers puts us directly at risk of fraud and worse crimes.17 May 2011
I am heartened to see there are people who look beyond my compaint and saw what happened was wrong.
Why should I dress up my complaint in niceness ? It wouldn’t be a complaint then.
I await a response from the fools at xxxx Hotels and will post it here.
Also, I may not have the clout to make the decision of where the concernned airline’s crew stays but it doesn’t mean this clear breach won’t get to the person that does make the decisions.
As for calling a staff member a loser , this is in direct response to the “couldn’t care less” attitude of this disgusting robot.17 May 2011
I agree with eselle and disgusted: I believe this hotel should be named.
However, skyguymanchester there is merit in what ntarrant says about complaining.
A solicitor friend of mine suggests that whilst writing a letter in anger can act as an outlet for that anger, it is worthwhile keeping it for a day or two and reviewing it when the red mist has disappeared.
Might I suggest writing to a senior manager in the hotel, reiterating your issues and asking him/her if they support the response given in their name.
Pat17 May 2011
I had a different form of security breach at a Melbourne hotel which I consider very serious.
I checked in late at night – around 11.30 – after a day of flights, meetings, client dinner. The very frosty receptionist eventually found the booking (“we didn’t think you were coming”…despite being informed it would a very late check in) and I dragged my butt up to the zillionth floor to find the door card wouldn’t work. Couldn’t find a floor phone so went back down to reception.
I was given a key for a different room on a different floor. Barge through the door, and lo and behold, a gentleman standing in the middle of the room in his underwear. After profuse apologies, I stomped off downstairs as he got stuck into calling reception to complain about his breach of privacy. The receptionist was getting an earful when I arrived at the desk – she just shrugged, and gave me yet another key, this time for the original room I had been given.
At this point I was very much in need of using the facilities, and very tired, and asked that someone come with me in case of a) key not working again or b) room occupied. She said no-one was available. This time the key did work, I rushed into the bathroom, and when I finally got into the room itself, lo and behold…a set of suitcases neatly parked in the room – which looked otherwise untouched. Opening the wardrobe revealed two suitpacks hanging up
At this point I was delirious with fatigue so I slung it all outside the door, called reception to tell them to collect, said I was not moving again, and it was their responsibility if anything happened to the luggage meanwhile.
This whole episode has made me very wary of this hotel’s security. It means someone can walk into your room unannounced at anytime. If the room was unoccupied, they could access any of my stuff in the room. As for the luggage left in the room, I had complete access to someone’s possessions.
As far as I am concerned this was a major breach of security. In the morning when I checked out, I asked if I was going to receive an apology, not having had one yet. The receptionist said “oh we heard about that, sorry” and that was that. When I pressed to speak to a manager, he was ‘unavailable at this time’. I asked what guarantee there was that this would never happen again, and the answer “we’ll try not too”.
Both receptionists gave the impression it was no big deal. I think otherwise
I have not stayed there since, you should think twice. It’s the Sofitel on Collins18 May 2011
It’s quite a big deal to turf another fellow business traveller’s personal possessions out into the corridor, especially when the room confusion was no fault of theirs.
I can’t imagine what potential hurt you might have caused had valuable, personal or sentimental items been lost as a consequence of your actions.18 May 2011