Short Stories - non fiction

How to Pre-Complain

I suppose you could pre-complain about anything. I have made a point of pre-complaining before I stay at a hotel. This has usually proven to be quite a successful tactic.

You see, when I stay at a hotel, I want the best room available, the best view, the most quiet etc. So what I do is before I arrive at the hotel, usually a couple of days in advance, I phone and confirm my reservation. This is a good thing to do even if you aren’t pre-complaining.

I start by simply confirming the dates of the reservation, and the room type. After this is all reviewed and confirmed, I subtly mention “I am a very light sleeper, is it possible for me to be put in a room that isn’t noisy?” The person on the other end of the line usually knows that some rooms are more quiet than others, and offers to put this preference on my reservation. Once that is worked out, I will ask if there are any rooms available which have a nice view. Again, this is added as a preference. Usually by now the person on the other end of the line and I have developed somewhat of a rapport. It’s extremely important to be very gracious and polite during the interaction. 

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have been given some spectacular rooms as a result of pre-complaining. A couple of years ago I was heading to Miami for a conference. I phoned ahead and pre-complained for myself and for my colleague. We both ended up with amazing suites. My room had two bathrooms, a separate shower, a soaker tub, a kitchen, a living room, and a balcony. It was amazing. I can guarantee you that I would have ended up in a basic hotel room were it not for the pre-complaint.

On that same trip, the second hotel that I stayed at had spectacular floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ocean. Again, the view was a direct result of pre-complaining. I know this because my friend who I was traveling with did not pre-complain and her room did not have nearly the same view, and the windows were not floor to ceiling.

I look at it this way, pre-complaining is way better than complaining. It is like setting expectations with the hotel. Let them know what you want in advance, and you (usually) won’t be disappointed!

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