Smoking Ashtray Tweet Prompts Rapid Reply from Starwood Properties

June 27, 2010

While vacationing in Hawaii on two occasions in the past six months, I had the pleasure to be a guest of Starwood Properties. My partner and I were have always treated exceptionally well by all Starwood staff members.

On both of our trips, the we were graciously provided in an amazing suite with amazing views on the 29th floor, which, unfortunately, is a smoking floor. Our suite included three balconies, two of which were adjacent to neighboring balconies, on which other hotel guests would smoke profusely. The smoke constantly wafted from their balcony to ours and crept under the door separating our rooms.

To keep some of the smoke from entering, we put a towel on the floor along the length of the door. Additionally, we had to keep the sliding glass door to our balcony closed. As a result, we infrequently spent time on the balcony and could not enjoy the amazing ocean view.

Having had personal experience as to the power of social networking for business purposes, I decided to spread my displeasure of our neighbors’ smoking habit on Twitter. One of my Twitter profiles, @hurtstolook, brings light to the noteworthy visual unpleasantries and environmental offenses I encounter in everyday life. To best elucidate my feelings, I took this photo of my neighbor’s overflowing ashtray:

Photo of Starwood Smoking Ashtray

I then attached the photo via Twitpic in the following tweet:

Photo of Starwood Smoking Ashtray Tweet

The next day, I received a tweet from @StarwoodBuzz requesting my hotel room number and under whom my reservation was registered. I promptly replied with our reservation information.

Despite our attempts to keep smoke out with the obstructing towel, my partner was awoken before dawn by the familiar, unpleasant, toxic stench. That morning, the management staff called our room to make amends for the displeasure we were experiencing directly relating to our smoking neighbors. They even offered to change our room to a comparable, yet not recently remodeled, room on a non-smoking floor.

As the hotel was gracious enough to give us such a grand suite on a floor with an amazing view, we decided to tough it out despite the toxic fumes. In attempt to keep our room and lungs free and clear, management kept the smoking room adjacent to our bedroom free of guests during the rest of our stay.

I feel as though the best way do address this issue would have been to directly contact the management, which is the means I will take in the future. Taking to Twitter to address the cigarette problem was a bit of a social experiment in how businesses monitor social networking sites to provide the best possible customer service to their patrons.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Phyllis Zimbler Miller June 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

Actually, tweeting may be more powerful than contacting the management in hotel situations. Read this recent story from The Wall Street Journal that includes examples of how tweeting worked more effectively than calling management —

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