Hotel Online Special Report

$6 Million in Free Rooms Provided by Hampton Inn's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee in Past Decade
Program Has Become An Industry Standard
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Oct. 6, 1999 - On the 10th day of the 10th month of 1999 at 10 a.m., Hampton Inn, the mid-scale, limited-service hotel brand of Promus Hotel Corporation (NYSE: PRH), will begin a month-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of the chain’s 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, the first ever offered in the hotel industry. All 910 Hampton Inn and 63 Hampton Inn Suites properties nationwide will participate in the event, which will include a direct mail offer to select Hampton Inn and other lodging customers—the largest, most aggressive national consumer mailout for the brand.

All Hampton Inn properties will commemorate the anniversary in their own way locally, decorating their hotels with a new “Hamp10” celebration logo on signage, balloons, buttons and merchandise.

October 10-staying customers will be treated to all the “Hamp10” cupcakes they can eat.
“When the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee concept was introduced in 1989, many people thought it was doomed to fail, thinking Hampton Inn was about to give away room revenues with both hands,” said Phil Cordell, senior vice president, brand management, Hampton Inn.  “Nothing could have been further from the truth.”

Lodging industry research indicates that a guest won’t return to a hotel and often never stays at any other hotels in the chain if his or her stay was not satisfactory. “That is why the payback from this program has been enormous,” explains Cordell. “Compared to the more than $6 million in free rooms we’ve given away over the past decade due to invoking the Guarantee, we have been able to track more than $41 million in repeat business, a nearly seven-fold return. But more than just dollars and cents, we’ve converted unhappy guests into satisfied customers across the country, loyal to the Hampton Inn brand.”

The Hampton Inn 100% Satisfaction Guarantee concept not only changed the way hotels operate, but also how many companies operate them today. The Guarantee empowers all employees in the chain, from the president to the housekeeper, to refund a guest’s money if he or she is not completely satisfied with their stay.

Guests have invoked the Guarantee for a variety of reasons over the last 10 years, ranging from a UFO encounter to rough toilet paper.

In the UFO incident, the front desk clerk was alerted that a guest had been awakened in the middle of the night by a series of flashing lights outside his window. Upon further investigation, the guest alleged that the lights had come from a UFO. Though no other guests complained of the incident or said they had seen a spaceship, the hotel reimbursed the unhappy traveler. “Though we receive some strange invocations of the Guarantee, we find very little abuse of it. In fact, when we fix a problem on the spot, nearly everyone declines a refund,” explained Cordell. Guest inconveniences caused by occasional power outages or breakdowns in equipment are the most common reasons cited.

“Every hotel company talks about the importance of service, but when we introduced the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, we changed the whole notion of customer service,” Cordell noted. “Suddenly, every employee was empowered to fix any guest’s problem or prevent a possible service breakdown. We eliminated the bureaucracy, which made both our guests and employees happier.”

Case in point of this employee empowerment is the story of a too-noisy cow left in its trailer in the parking lot of one Hampton Inn. When news of a constant “mooing” outside reached a Hampton Inn employee, he determined to fix the problem. Upon investigation, the employee discovered the cow’s owner had posted a “Do not disturb” sign on his hotel room door. The employee, who had been raised on a farm, checked further and found that the cow had not been milked (a most likely cause of discomfort for the cow). The employee took the initiative to milk the cow himself, and in the end, helped all guests that evening (including the cow) have a peaceful rest.

The 100% Satisfaction Guarantee has been so well received and is so successful that Promus Hotel Corporation extended the concept to all of its brands, including Hampton Inn  Suites, Doubletree Hotels, Suites, Resorts and Clubs, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, Embassy Vacation Resort and Hampton Vacation Resort brands. As the first hotel brand to introduce the concept, Hampton Inn felt 10 years of phenomenal success was call for celebration.

Based on its Guarantee policy, the Hampton Inn brand recently was named “Best Practice Corporate Champion in Quality” in a major study conducted by the Center for Hospitality Research at the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University. Earlier this 

In Olive Branch, Mississippi, two Hampton Inn employees join Phil Cordell, extraordinary air surfer and senior vice president, brand management, as Hampton Inn and its employees nationwide "Hang 10" during the 10th anniversary celebration of the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. (Business Wire photo) 
year, J.D.Power and Associates’ 1999 Domestic Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study presented Hampton Inn with the “Highest Guest Satisfaction Among Mid-Price Hotel Chains with Limited Food Service” award.

Hampton Inn is part of Promus Hotel Corporation, one of the world’s premier lodging companies. The company operates, franchises or owns hotels throughout the U.S. and in Canada, Mexico and Latin America. In addition to Hampton Inn, it is the franchisor and operator of the Doubletree Hotels, Suites, Resorts and Clubs, Red Lion Hotels, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn  Suites, Embassy Vacation Resort and Hampton Vacation Resort brands. The company also manages non-Promus branded hotels, as well as facilities in its University Hotel  Conference Center division.

Melissa O’Brien
Chris Daly or Jerry Daly, media
Also See: Amerihost Properties, Inc. Now Offering a 100% Guest Guarantee Program / July 1999 
Warren Fields, VP, Club Hotels by Doubletree Endorses Outstanding Stay or Won't Pay Guarantee / July 1998 
100% Guest Satisfaction? / Victoria L. Meyers / Feb 1999 
Limited Service Pioneer Hampton Inns Now has 800 Properties / Oct 1998 
100% Guest Satisfaction Program? / Hotel Online Viewpoint Forum

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