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Comfortable hotels – why are they so rare?

“Your home away from home” is how many hotels like to market themselves. It’s an easy slogan to use, but for many hotel owners I am fairly sure that if they had to live in the properties which earn them a living, they wouldn’t put up with many of the irritations to which they are […]

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A tale of car rental woe with a happy ending

I loathe every aspect of renting a car abroad. Even the process of booking a car for our recent Sicily trip took far too long; every time I was about to book a car I made the mistake of checking a review site and ended up getting distracted by a stream of one-star ratings from angry […]

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Reasons to fall out with a restaurant

A friend recently asked me for suggestions of where to go and what to do for their upcoming visit to London. As I was typing out a long list of recommended restaurants, it struck me how many restaurants I was consciously leaving off my list; places which were long-time favourites and which for some reason over the […]

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Rule 1 of basic customer service: it’s about the customer, not you

I read a recent article written by a hotel receptionist (I’ve searched through my archives to try and find a link, with no success) that had me banging my head on the desk in frustration (metaphorically, of course). The author was scathing about the inventor of rolling luggage (suitcases with wheels), saying that they had […]

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$5 and an opportunity missed – a hotel customer service lesson

    It really isn’t a big deal. I didn’t lose any money over the incident and the hotel acted fully within its rights. Yet by a simple action (or inaction) what had been a very pleasant stay ended with us saying that we would stay elsewhere when we next return to the same place. […]

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Picking up a rental car: why does it have to be so painful?

It’s hard to believe any system could be so inefficient. Check into a hotel and, in any decent place you’ll have your key and be in your room in a couple of minutes. Arrive at the airport and you can, in theory, go through security and be at your gate less than ten minutes after […]

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London Olympics: why it’s good to whinge

Even before the first medal has been contested in the London Olympics it appears that Great Britain has already been crowned champions in one activity. According to a NY Times article we are a nation that enjoys ‘low-grade grousing’ at the best of times and has taken this skill to a new level as a consequence of […]

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The reality of air travel

International air travel can provoke many emotions. Airline adverts suggest we will experience a non-stop world of glamour, indulgence and pampering.  But what is the reality? This is a look at how you’re more likely to feel after a typical journey through an airport. Idiot First you’re made to feel like a rather stupid child […]

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“Would you like fries with that?” Is upselling upsetting the customer?

I’m currently arranging a new mobile phone contract. In common with most people I have very low expectations of the customer service I’m likely to receive. This is borne out of years of bitter experience. While the staff often appear incapable of connecting my phone to a functioning network at the price I signed up […]

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Why other people’s holidays are always great: the magic of cognitive dissonance

Ask a friend or work colleague about their holiday and the chances are that the description will fall somewhere between amazing, awesome and brilliant. In most cases we don’t need to ask; the bronzed storyteller will proudly share every highlight of their holiday with anyone who can’t get away in time. And yet, go to […]

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