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Crowne Plaza March 21, 2007

Posted by collage9 in Customer Service, Organizational Design.

This past Spring Break, I had the privilege of spending my time in Acapulco, Mexico.  Going to another country, it really is surprising to see how organizations operate.  One that was especially surprising to me was the hotel I stayed at, the Crowne Plaza.  It was shocking to me how poorly it was run even though I’m sure it was owned and operated by an American based company.  I was with a group of six people, and we all booked our trip together to make sure we stayed next to one another.  When we arrived at the hotel, we had something much different waiting for us.  The front lobby was chaos with people checking in and checking out, and it took us forever to make it to the front of the line.  When we finally did, we found that not only were we not next to one another in the hotel, they didn’t even have rooms for us when we got there.  Maybe I don’t understand the concept of making reservations, but I’m pretty sure it means you should have a room waiting for you upon your arrival.  When rooms were finally available, we found that one group would be staying on the fourth floor, and the other on the twenty-fourth floor.  To top it all off, when we arrived in our room it was a filthy mess with unmade beds and food and cigarette butts all over the floor.  What made matters worse thoughout the whole situation is that all of the workers are Mexican and can barely speak english.  Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising to me, but at a place where 99% of the visitors are english speaking you would think that at least some of the staff would speak decent english.  It’s not that the hotel itself wasn’t nice (don’t get me wrong we ended up having a great time), but it was amazing to me how poorly it was opeated.  I guess that just goes to show how much organizations vary from culture to culture.  Even if an organization is American based doesn’t mean it will operate with the same standards as we do, it will most likely relflect those of the country it is in. 



1. silviamocanu07 - March 21, 2007

I have had a similar experience when going on holiday a few years ago. I stayed at the Hilton Hotel in Budapest, after having previously stayed at the one in my own country. In the Budapest one, the service was impecable and the staff was very helpful, whereas at the Hilton in my country this was not the case at all.

National culture does affect the way that organizations work to a great extent. People’s mentalities and lifestyles directly impact work styles and, ultimately, the efficient operations of the organization.

2. Kira - March 21, 2007

I am not so sure this has to do with the culture of the country because I had a completely different experience when I vacationed in Mexico. The hotel I stayed at was probably the best I have ever been to! All points of customer service were completely flawless for my entire stay- from the cleanliness and upkeep of the hotel all the way up to the front desk and concierge.

It sounds like this is more specific to the Crowne Plaza rather than the culture of Mexico. The Crowne Plaza needs some help with redesigning its organizational structure and culture. I guess the culture of the hotel does not value efficiency, effectiveness, or customer service as much as it probably should.

3. Janine - March 21, 2007

This reminds me of one of the chapters in the book. They were talking about differing work ethics between different cultures and the struggles that some companies dealt with when going abroad. I think the case with the Crowne Plaza is a case of global expansion done wrong. This particular hotel does not seem to have a universal standard in place. Otherwise, they would have lived up to the quality standards that I would expect from a Crowne Plaza. I have stayed in one before, and it was quite nice. i think this hotel should be evaluated. The staff needs education. Perhaps some structural change is in order.

4. Jordi - March 25, 2007

English! not “english!” Sheeeesh.

5. Jordi - March 25, 2007

Ouch! You think Mexican standards are filthy rooms?

The hotel definitely dropped the ball, and you imagine this is not the _first_ spring break they have operated in. Does this add up to National cultural differences? Would a Mexican businessperson recently left by Jet Blue in an airport for three days, or on the tarmac with no food or pee breaks for 11 hours, rightly conclude that kidnapping and abusing customers reflects American values (http://abcnews.go.com/US/Travel/story?id=2879047)?

Does your experience and the Jet Blue customer service fiasco add a layer of accountability for firms? Are they responsible for the image of their country and national culture?

6. Brian Mulligan - April 1, 2007

I don’t feel that companies can be responsible for the country or national culture. Only companies that are directly tied to the nation like airlines like Air Jamica can be held responsible. I do think that standards differ from country to country, but what you experienced was absurd. I went to the Domincian Republic for Spring Break and it’s the most corrupt country i’ve ever been in, but they still had great service and rooms. I guess it’s a case by case basis.

As for accountability, the firms are destroying their image by not taking care of their customers. Firms today have very weak public images and they need create stronger ties with their customers. Also, creating credibility is necessary as well.

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