I spent last week at the Alabama Prosthetic & Orthotic Association Annual Meeting in Montgomery, Ala. It was the first time the meeting had been held in Montgomery and I was looking forward to it because I’d never been to Montgomery. For the last several years, longer than I can remember, the meeting has been held at the Birmingham Marriott in Birmingham. I go every year. I rent a car because the hotel is far from the airport. This time I didn’t since the hotel is only eight miles from the airport, parking is not free and I didn’t anticipate having to go anywhere.

The Renaissance Hotel was beautiful, the staff was friendly and the rooms are lovely, with big, wide floor to ceiling windows. An outdoor bar hosted live music every night until 11 p.m.

Unfortunately, the hotel is located a block from the freight train tracks. Who knew freight trains ran through Montgomery, and blew their horns, every 2 hours all night long?



Image: © Shutterstock


Not me. Disappointed.

I flew in on one of the worst travel days in recent memory and my bag didn’t make it, so I completed the paperwork and headed to the hotel. It was late so I neatly filled out the breakfast door hanger for a 6 a.m. breakfast and went to bed.

At 6:15 a.m. room service called to verify my breakfast order. Weird. It was supposed to arrive at 6 a.m. I verified that the order was correct and hung up. Within 5 minutes, there was a knock on the door. Breakfast! It looked amazing; I had only eaten a bag of cheese popcorn the day before, so I was ravenous.

Sadly, my amazing breakfast was cold. It started out hot at 6:00 a.m. but it was not hot anymore. Disappointed! If I’d have known that it was going to come late and cold I would have put on my dirty clothes and gone down to the buffet.

Suitcase of promises

Meanwhile, I’d received an email saying I should go to wheresmysuitcase.com because my bag status had been updated. I clicked on the link and I could see that my bag arrived at the airport on the flight after mine. If I had been told that it might arrive on the next flight I would have waited for it since I hadn’t rented a car. Disappointed!

The bag had been logged out for hotel delivery at 7:12 a.m. and it was expected to arrive by 3:30 p.m. Because I was only 8 miles from the airport I had hoped it would arrive sooner. I clicked on the link to track the driver and saw that he wasn’t far from the hotel, so I called the front desk and asked them to call me as soon as he arrived because I had a meeting at 9:00 a.m. and I really needed that suitcase.


Elizabeth Mansfield

At 8:20 a.m.the phone rang. Bag had arrived! Fantastic! I was very happy with the whole wheresmysuitcase.com experience and as a marketing person loved that they said “by 3:30 p.m.” and delivered it at 8:20 a.m.

I asked the front desk attendant if someone could bring it to my room. She assured me someone would bring it up right away.

Once in the hotel, it took 30 minutes for my bag to arrive at my door. Disappointed! If I knew it might take that long, I would have put on my dirty clothes and gone down to get it myself.

Delta messed up but gets a rave review from me because the airline, along with wheresmysuitcase.com, underpromised and totally overdelivered by delivering my bag at 8:20 a.m., well before their 3:30 p.m ‘guesstimate.’

The Renaissance Hotel, which technically did not mess anything up, ended up being much more disappointing since it simply underdelivered on everything.

Moral of the story: Even if you mess something up, underpromising and overdelivering can make the difference in how satisfied the customer is.

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