What is Loyalty?

Thursday and Friday were that first child’s first college scholarship interview and audition. While she spent the night on campus, my husband and I found a hotel in Fargo through Expedia.com.

Our main criteria was a good price and a real breakfast included. We were happy with our choice. The room was comfortable and seemingly clean, breakfast was good and plentiful, and staff were friendly.

There were just two small things that would have made the breakfast more enjoyable.

  1. We had made our selections from the main area of the breakfast buffet before we realized there were hot eggs, sausage, and waffles on the other side of the breakfast area (I would have much preferred the hot eggs, but had already selected cold hard-boiled eggs).
  2. The plastic on the fruit cup was almost impossible to open (with a little luck on my side I spilled it only on the table rather than myself)

Anyway, we were happy.

At the checkout desk there was a sign promoting the chain’s rewards program. Our daughter had enjoyed the first day of the program she was attending; it was looking likely that we’d be back in the area on a regular basis over the next few years. I told the employee staffing the desk that we were interested in the rewards program.

The response was that since we had booked through expedia.com, we were not eligible. Not that this night’s stay couldn’t be credited, but that we couldn’t sign up for the program. We would have to have booked through AmericInn.com or the chain’s 800 number.

We could have left that hotel lobby totally happy with our stay and loyal to the chain. The next time we visited the college (or had any other cause to spend a night away from home) we would first look into AmericInn options.

Instead we left a little miffed, I guess somewhat soured by the last minute or two of our otherwise wonderful stay. We felt we were being penalized for using Expedia.com, even though we would not have been there at all had we not found the hotel through that site. The next time we are in need of a hotel we would probably again use expedia.com which may or may not lead us to AmericInn.

A bad ending can tarnish an otherwise positive experience, and loyalty, it seemed, does not so much start when “points” are accrued, but perhaps when you have that card in your wallet?

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