Radisson Blu Galway – I’d avoid for events

Update as of end of April 2010: After a long time going back and forth and escalating this to the general manager for Radisson Group Ireland, the Radisson and I came finally came to a satisfactory resolution on this matter. Many lessons were learned by all sides.

Update: Staff members of the Radisson Blu chain are swarming around this blog post, one has even left a fake comment about his love for the Radisson Blu Dublin

I’ve been back and forth with the Radisson Blu Galway for over a week about the crap service they gave for the Blog Awards. Below is a list I sent the hotel of what I have subsequently been told were “minor issues”. I unfortunately trusted others that I would be guaranteed good service from the hotel, instead I got the worst service of any hotel I’ve done business with in 6 years of running various events. All these complaints have been forwarded to the GM of the Radisson Blu Group but I have yet to hear anything from them either. So much for good quality hotels in Ireland. The amount of additional stress added on to myself and others on the night of the Awards because of the below was uncalled for and should not have happened. This is what you don’t want for a conference or an event.


Lack of delivery of contract and prices until a few weeks before the date.
Despite choosing the hotel and going over details for the event, it was just weeks before the event that a contract arrived.

Staff wanted Twitter messages deleted
When I rang to clarify some issues, the main number for the hotel rang out. I noted this on Twitter. Later a staff member rang me back and answered some of my questions then said my tweets made them look bad and appreciated if I deleted them. When I said no I got a smart “well that’s your prerogative”. Further explanation from me that I’m not in the business of deleting tweets got the same “your prerogative” reply.

March 26th
We checked into the hotel, with a distinct lack of “hello and welcome”. A handover between two staff members for the event was amateur and the most up to date details and contract couldn’t be found. One of the Blog Award volunteers was assigned two rooms instead of one so had to correct that. I got asked at the handover what media coverage I would get for the hotel, does this post help? 🙂

The power sockets blew in my room on late Friday night leaving phones and laptop dead on Saturday morning.

March 27th
Tried to ring down dozens of times over the space of two hours to complain about power sockets. All numbers were engaged almost all day. Resorted to charging phone in someone else’s room. Walked to reception and it was swamped with people, could not find a staff member to complain to. Eventually had someone in housekeeping get an electrician. Electrician came to room and fixed sockets, they blew again later that evening.

Blog Awards Function
Function room was set up for 250 not 300, despite the handover on Friday making this very clear. I had to correct this with the staff who seemed unimpressed with my telling them. Staff were unpleasant to me and others.
Lights blew in VIP section of the function when lights tested by staff, had to be replaced by an electrician.
Unsafe wooden steps for the stage put up, yet had previously been promised proper steps in runthrough earlier in March. No proper steps were put up.
The stage was dirty with rubblish left there from previous event and rubbish was not cleared by staff.
Curtains at left of the stage had very large and obvious stains on them.

March 28th
Complained to John W on checkout about power in rooms. No record of any issues was sent down by electrician or housekeeping. Rooms was comped over power issue. Supposedly. Banqueting manager not around to discuss other issues or deal with payment.

March 29th
Chatted to Karen J on the phone about list of issues, outlined bedrooms were comped by John W. Outlined all the other issues I had. Told Karen J I would be paying

March 30th
Invoice for event arrived and I was charged for supposedly comped rooms

April 1st.
Without permission, hotel took 1000 euros off my credit card.

Data Protection Breach
Hotel has sent a survey to numerous Blog Award attendees despite them ticking box asking for no contact. Hotel has added many Blog Awards guests to their mailing list despite people opting out on check-in cards.

April 6th, 7th
Issues raised with Radisson Blu Group Manager – waiting for response…

April 8th.
Hotel writes me a letter, comping my room. Again. Pointing out issues were minor. Offering me a voucher to stay in hotel.

68 Responses to “Radisson Blu Galway – I’d avoid for events”

  1. Gerrard says:

    Hairs: You spent many years as a hotel manager? I sincerely hope that’s just some fantastical imaginary idea in your head.

    “Never order room service. It’s never, ever, ever on time.” (perhaps in the hotel you have managed? not par for the course)

    “It’s always cold. The kitchen hate room service because it interrupts the flow of the rest of their cooking, and they can’t plan around it.” (oh, how inconsiderate of me to put the kitchen staff out. I’ll remember this in future when I;m settling my bill. some services are not to be ordered in case they ‘put the hotel out’. ok)

    “You think there’s an actual dedicated room service kitchen and crew? You’re delusional. Do you want a backrub and a happy ending with that as well? Not going to happen.” (you are a patronizing weasel hairs. Your user name suits you. Is that how you talk to customers when you were “a manager” back in the old days? Have you no sense of professionalism, respect, integrity, courtesy? Doesn’t look like it. The rest of the crap you spouted does not dignify a response. If people pay for a service, they expect it to be provided. Or are they all delusional gimps who want back rubs and room service, and god forbid hot water.
    You are a discredit to all of those hotel staff who do work their backsides off to ensure a pleasant stay for the client. You are just a condescending weasel. Can I have a backrub now please?

  2. I think Hairs was just playing Devil’s advocate and I can certainly see the viewpoint, cynical as it is!

  3. Anna Leavy says:

    Having spent my college years working in hotels, I have to say Hairs is pretty much on the money. Hotel owners DO NOT want to pay money for anything. I know it’s completely unacceptable to have paying customers bearing the brunt of this but the fact is it happens.

    In the 2 Galway hotels I’ve worked in (both for periods of well over a year), the chefs haven’t given a toss about room service orders. Absolutely unacceptable when the person who is ordering it is helping to pay their wages.

    The manager does know what you’re going to complain about. I’ve seen managers anticipate calls down from guests regarding a particular problem they know the guest is going to have. Once again, this is not on when the guest is paying extortionate (probably) rates to stay in the room. However, this goes back to the original point about hotel owners not wanting to pay for anything. It’s a sorry state of affairs. It shouldn’t happen but it absolutely does.

    Makes me wonder who’d be a hotel manager, who’d be a guest!

  4. Hairs says:

    @the doubters who worry about my professionalism in the days when I was a hotel manager.

    I understand your comments about the lousy service and standards! I even agree with them!

    A B&B is not a hotel. It’s a totally different sort of operation. There is less to do and less overhead. There is also far less variation in business levels in a 10 room B&B vs. a 150 room hotel with function rooms. Variation in business levels is what kills hotels a lot of the time. A couple of people can keep a small B&B ticking over very well. The same is not true of a hotel.

    @Maca You note that these are all “resource issues” and still claim that the manager of the hotel is responsible. I can tell you now that the people you meet in a hotel called “Manager” have no control whatsoever over these issues. They might have control over their individual staff roster, but not over the number of staff employed. All those things are controlled by “spending money” and the only people who do that are the owners and the accounts department. A manager can stand and scream and shout that the place is horribly understaffed, it’s not going to make any difference if the owner’s not prepared to spend the money. Spending money is dictated by ARR (average room rate) and occupancy averages. A hotel owner is never going to say “we need 200 staff to keep this place going when it’s full so that’s how many we’ll have”. He’ll say “our average occupancy is 30% so we’ll employ 65 staff.” He’s going to get those figures from the Accounts department who couldn’t give a toss about anything other than the numbers. Remember that when one hotel is full, usually it’s because every other hotel in the area is also full. There are only so many temp staff to go around.

    @Aiden Cuffe You’re fully right to be indignant about all the issues – buuuut as long as you’re staying in an Irish hotel, particularly a large one, these things will continue to happen, because that’s the *ownership* culture in this country (not the culture of the hotel workers who are universally some of the best people I’ve ever met). The only places they don’t happen are places like the Burj (see “staff ratios”) and small B&B’s (less work to do in the same amount of time). Should hotels do it? Absolutely not. But they do. Customers demand checkout times of 12pm. They also demand checkin times of 2.30 pm. The hotel is essentially betting that not everyone will arrive at 2.30pm. Most of the time, they’re right. Even if they are, you might have requested a specific room that’s not ready yet. Housekeepers aren’t miracle workers. The only solution to that is for everyone to be prepared to check out at 8.30am. Can’t see that happening.

    @Gerrard Call me a weasel if you like. I was an excellent hotel manager. I was utterly professional and I always looked after my customers. One of the things you learn is that you can only look after the customers with what you’re given. If your hotel has 300 rooms but only 50 seats for breakfast, professionalism isn’t the problem. If the hotel needs rewiring, but the owner won’t pay for it, professionalism isn’t the problem. If the kitchen is already slammed with orders and there’s no room on the stove for a room service order, professionalism isn’t the problem. Room service in the mornings when you have to fill out a breakfast card will be generally on time. Why? Because the kitchen knows when everything is due, can plan out the orders and get things queued up. Middle of the evening, restaurants open, bar food going out, and room service? Something’s going to have to give. It’s usually room service. And the “lord of the manor” comment clearly wasn’t intended to reflect how customers behave in hotels, or their attitude – it’s a description of what a hotel actually is, when you see it from both sides. From a customer point of view, a hotel when it works is a place where “I ask for something, it happens, magic.” How a hotel does that is something people don’t understand until they’ve done it.

    I’m not excusing the Radisson at all – what is described is not acceptable at all from a customer service point of view. But I know why it probably happened, because I’ve been there before. The GM of the hotel should know when he’s been caught out though and nip it in the bud, which is what hasn’t happened.

    I honestly think that we shouldn’t have National Service, but that everyone in the country should be forced to work in a hotel for a year during transition year or after the leaving. And read Kitchen Confidential too. Don’t just concentrate on the “eww a dirty kitchen” descriptions. Try and get inside the head of the guy who’s talking and you’ll learn a lot.

  5. @hairs

    “You’re fully right to be indignant about all the issues – buuuut as long as you’re staying in an Irish hotel, particularly a large one, these things will continue to happen, because that’s the *ownership* culture in this country (not the culture of the hotel workers who are universally some of the best people I’ve ever met).”

    Of course, we are currently in the middle of an enormous recession. These hotels are going to go out of business; it is likely that the survivors will be the less crap ones, not those similar to the one described in this article.

  6. Roland says:

    That sounds like a nightmare. Good to hear that the event itself went down so well, despite the strange and unqualified hotel behaviour. I would have thought in the current business climate they would go all out to satisfy the customer, particular bringing large business like awards. Well some still don’t seem to get the message.

  7. lisadom says:

    Hotel was dirty. I didn’t want to say anything as I hoped that you had been “looked after” in the organising of the event because you were bringing them so much business.

    But now I will let rip: Shower had ingrained dirt built up around the screen and sides. The sort of thing that you would get rid of with one little spray of flash and scrubbing brush. The plug didnt work – had to be prised out with nails.
    Room was dirty, I pulled out a draw shelf thing and it had old coffee rings on it. From that point we didnt use as much as a coffee cup.

    When we checked in the halls were absolutely overflowing with filled bin bags and laundry bags. And we walked miles past all of these to get to our room each time. Room service trays were in the hall for hours and a round of drinks from the night before that had been discarded on the window sill beside the lift were there for the whole 23 hours that we were there.

    Oh, and the one working lift that went to the “tower” had a hairball in it – all weekend. I kicked it – it was a hairball.

    I thought it was a kip to be honest. I got that stupid survey and am getting all mail-outs too. Wouldn’t go back. xx

  8. Ruth Crean says:

    Wow that is disgraceful, after all your hard work to be treated like that. Roland is right, it’s a recession, a hotel that has no clue about customer service is not going to last long. It was really stupid of them not to deal with your issues properly, have they not gauged how many people will read about this, and tell others. An event of this scale should have been given full attention.
    I’ve worked in the service industry for years, and I know mistakes do happen, I always judge a place on how they choose to deal with a bad situation. If your problems had been recognised with a sincere apology and dealt with properly it would not have been so bad.
    I was toying with the idea of staying there the night of the awards, but in the end budget dictated that I stay with a friend, I’m so glad I didn’t waste my money.

  9. Aidan Cuffe says:

    All im going to add to my previous post for those who responded is

    Just because “Thats the way it is” or “Owners dont want to invest money”

    Doesnt make it right, and thus Damiens blog post is clearly more than needed if hotels are to be made aware that people wont accept this stuff anymore

    Be It Managerial, Organisational, Ownership or Staff Issues, i am not paying for their inability to do the work/invest in their product. Its their business to run not mine, and if they want to lose customers, they can keep their current level of input and interest in customer service

  10. Matt Kane says:

    I tried to get a receipt for the car park for my expenses at the end of the night. The guy at reception didn’t give a shite. Said I’d have to come back in the morning to get one from the car park assistant – no apology, no sympathy, just rude. It wasn’t even the fact that the Radisson have nothing to do with their own car park, it was just their attitude. Absolutely stank. Minor thing I know, but with all the other things mentioned here, I’ll be making sure no one I know goes there.

    Ps. Maldron Hotel in Oranmore was excellent, and much cheaper to stay at.

  11. Matt Kane says:

    And that Ian Doyle comment – what a twat. Someone needs a crash course in social media.

  12. TUG says:

    Realism meets Entitlement culture on the day Greek CDS Bond Spread soars off the top of the chart…

    Hmmm, when will the twain meet?

  13. Hold on a second… the Radission employee’s comment says “best hotel I have ever *worked* with” not “stayed at”.

  14. Sounds like my room was a deathtrap. I’m glad I didn’t get into it until 7.30 a.m. Lightweights.

  15. shellymc says:

    We didn’t stay at the hotel, but the event staff on the night were a disaster. Upwards of 10 minutes wait at the bar *every* time we went for a drink. One dude spilled my drink before handing it to me.

    Terrible to hear there were problems behind the scenes too. Well done on calling them on it, totally unacceptable level of customer service.

  16. Breffni says:

    I have to say I have used the radisson in Galway lots of times – i really cannot believe all the negativity, the staff are great,they have always been really helpful to me

  17. lisadom says:

    Breffni says:
    April 9, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I have to say I have used the radisson in Galway lots of times – i really cannot believe all the negativity, the staff are great,they have always been really helpful to me

    Hello? is that Breffni from the apprentice? is he ligging for Raddisson now?

  18. […] deserved Panti. As always Mulley you are a legend, thanks for a great show bud Update: Looks like Damien had a nightmare with Galway’s Radisson Blu, looks like the venue was a huge miss. Share […]