Did you think that paying $800 a night for your room would get you the best service at your luxury hotel? Think again, you may end up treated as a second class traveller anyway.
Paying lots, receiving little
Having a second class section is an old standby for all travel companies, ranging from airlines to commuter trains. Mostly, the second class section is cheaper, less comfortable, takes longer, gets worse food or has some other downside. The way to avoid those 'hassles' has been to upgrade to a first class option by paying lots of money.
But pick the wrong luxury hotel and you'll find yourself right back in second class.
Wall Street Journal has an exposé on the rise of second class at first class prices (subscription required) at luxury resort hotels. Here's where you'll pay $800 for your junior suite to get access to the fantastic service only to find a velvet rope keeping you from the true first class service. If you haven't paid the extra money upfront to get into the ‘Royal Service’, you'll be barred from the waitered infinity pool, kept out of the fancy restaurant or simply not having access to the type of service you'd expect.
I'm sorry Sir, this area is for our better guests
Lots of travel companies have had first and second class customers for a long time. Naturally, you'd get a better service if you're in the Presidential Suite at the Hilton or flying first class with Virgin Airlines. But the segregation has been discrete and expected. Now however, the separation at some hotels is very in-your-face and guests are getting resentful. A quote from Upgrade: Travel Better clearly shows why:
"Higher-paying guests are identifiable by color-coded bracelets (eww!) or towels with a special stripe of color."
Get me another hotel please
I don't know about you, but I'd rather not stay in any luxury resort that will still treat me as if I'm a poor country yokel unfit to stay at their wonderful hotel.
What do you think about being marginalised after paying a premium?
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