I spent four nights at Safari Park Hotel in early April 2014 as a keynote speaker for a conference focused on business leaders. The conference was tremendous. The hotel stay was epically disappointing.
Upon arrive, Safari Park sent their hotel van to pick me up at the hotel. It cost $38, which Safari Park billed to the room. The van was easily recognized because it had their logo on the side. I gave the trolly, which had all my bags on it, to the driver to load in the back and made the mistake of not staying back there to watch him load the bags.
When I got to my room at the hotel, one large piece of luggage was missing which contained books to sell for the conference worth hundreds of dollars. I immediately notified the hotel staff who questioned the driver. Over the next two days the hotel manager and staff required me to go back out to the airport, personally make reports to the police, check back in with customs and the airline (who verified the bag arrived) and pretty much do all the investigation myself. They continuously claimed they were working hard to find the bag, but it turns out they were doing nothing.
After four days they not only had no answer, they were ignoring me. Even though the hotel security chief, the hotel manager and the assistant manager had all insisted they would keep me informed, and would make it right, I was completely ignored from the second day forward. Once they figured out the bag had been lost by their driver and cold not be recovered, they simply ignored me and the issue and hoped I would go away. It is a terrible example of a hotel not taking responsibility.
I emailed the hotel a number of times since my return, and the only response I got was from a low-level staff person who said the driver was responsible and that the driver was not an employee of the hotel, so it wasn't their problem. This is the worst possible response by a hotel. The van was ordered by my office through the hotel. The hotel confirmed the van, told us to look for THEIR van with THEIR logo on it, and billed me for the van as a room charge on my hotel bill. At every point they wanted me to believe the van and the driver was theirs, until it was no longer to their advantage. it's like United Airlines not taking responsibility for an incident on a regional flight because they hire a third party airline to fly the route. The plane still has United's logo on it, United is representing they are United, and United bills me. The hotel ignored a cardinal rule of hospitality - never blame a third party that you hire to represent you.
I'm out some very expensive books. The people at the conference did not get them, which likely cost me future opportunities as well. And the hotel is simply running and hiding like a three year old child. I've never seen such a lack of professionalism in a hospitality business. And by they way, the room had plywood hodling up the bathroom ceiling fan and a number of other very tacky issues for a hotel that claims to be one of the best in Nairobi. I have been in much better there.
It's easy to claim to be customer-focused when things are going well. But we show who we are when our backs are against the wall. Safari Park revealed themselves as who they really are, a hotel owned by Chinese industrialists who will not stand behind their performance. The staff is clearly dishonest and nonresponsive. If you stay there, know that if something goes wrong that will cost them some significant money to fix, that they will disappear on you.
I'll add Safari Park to my workshop on how not to treat customers.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- ‘THE AFRICAN PARADISE’ Surrounded by 50 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, the Safari Park Hotel & Casino combines the elegance of African architecture and art with an infrastructure at the leading edge of technology. Located only 15 minutes from the Nairobi city centre, the hotel offers calmness and serenity away from the fast pace of the city. The five-star hotel boasts 205 luxurious rooms each with en-suite bathrooms, antique African-themed four-poster beds and furniture. All the rooms have rear and front private large garden view balconies. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Safari Park Nairobi