A delayed catch up meeting with somebody I have interacted on twitter led to discussions about OTA, hotels and ecommerce in general.

On learning that I was planning to visit Bangalore, he mentioned that I should try out one of the Treebo Hotels there.

Being a sucker to trying out new things in the Travel and Hospitality place, decided to give it a shot. When I spoke to a friend in Bangalore who is in the trade, there was a shocked silence, before ‘Are you sure? It is not a category that you have ever stayed in’; before offering to sort out another property (in case I insisted on staying in a hotel instead of his home) or at least speak to the Treebo team etc.

I laughing reminded him, about our previous days and subsequent Ginger audits, so he gave up with a sigh.

There was no App, so booked via website but did not appear to be optimized for mobile phone, refreshed and it worked. Evaluated the offerings, booked and sorted. Communication worked, got a confirmation and all.

Reached Bangalore and checked in, smiling gent at the reception, however teh tablet was not working or IT was working on it, so had to manually enter. Card swiped for deposit and entered the room. Decent size with one bed, a wardrobe, kinda kitchenette, chair. Bathroom was clean and functional.

An immediate sms ‘Hi Anaggh, for any suggestion or complaint. talk to us via FB. Start to chat with us on …… Please find tent card in your room with details’ I found this weird – If I have a problem in the room, why would I go to FB, wouldn’t/shouldn’t I pick up the phone to reception?

Feeling a bit peckish went up to the ‘Restaurant’ which I had been told about at the reception and found it empty. Sat down and waited….. a couple of people /staff kept wandering in and out without asking me anything. Finally 15 min later, the young lad on his 4th visit was accosted by me and told to take the order. I was informed that I cannot order here, but can go to the room and order and we would deliver to the room. There was no answer about the restaurant being operational or not.

There was a ghostly drip in the night that I managed to narrow down, but the hotel was silent so decided to wait for the next day. Morning called up the reception to ask about breakfast – was informed that it would be served in the restaurant. The same lad greeted me enthusiastically, served hot breakfast – actually super VFM – I would not have objected to paying another Rs 250/- just for that.

The drip and shower not working were still waiting to be resolved. Went out for a meeting, came back and found it was still not done. Asked for a shift to another room, which was not possible due to “completely booked Saar”.  Finally drip continued but shower was half way there, so decided that 50% was better. Couldn’t shift out from the hotel because had booked for 4 nights. So decided to make the best of it.

The 3rd evening there was a nice box of chocolates because you are staying with us and we give. Did not understand the logic but appreciated the gesture.

The evening before the check out, I was offered to shift to another room, but declined AND a text warning about the Karnataka bandh so I should plan my travel accordingly, which was a great thing. Very few hotels make an effort to do this.

Checking out, the tablet was still not operational but the invoice was made and card swiped, so all good.

Hits

  • The staff – young enthusiastic, may not be well trained or need further training but had a warm approach.
  • Location and convenience for the price
  • Communication from a centralised perspective.
  • Nicely branded, behaviour mapping consistency would probably need to be done.
  • WiFi did work, erratically but definitely a hit.

Misses

  • Lack at pro active communication at the property
  • Use of new age tech at property
  • Maintenance SOP
  • Engaging the customer, whilst checking out and after.
  • Behaviour consistency

 


There is definitely an opportunity to consolidate and improve the customer journey, that may come at a cost in some ways, but a worthwhile investment.

I would definitely want to try out a couple of other properties to see the consistency bit.

Overall Experience: 3.5/5

Recommendation: 3.5/5 Given the basic value proposition; but then it will be easy to get commoditised. 

 

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Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends