I Got Yelled At By A Hyatt Manager For The First Time

I never ask for very much and I rarely ever complain. I certainly never ask for special treatment. I would rather experience hotels the same way everyone else does, at least the way other frequent travelers earning elite status do.

So I get to the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor at 2:50 p.m.

I went through the check-in process, and learned that my room wasn’t ready. The agent checking me in let me know that it was cleaned but not inspected, and that she’d call to expedite that. She asked if I had a car (I had a rental car) and suggested that by the time I parked it and came back she’d probably have my keys, and that in any case it wouldn’t be more than 15 minutes.

So I went and parked, taking extra time in the process, and came back into the hotel. I waited for a guest to finish being checked in, and then I asked whether the room was ready? I was told it wasn’t ready yet. So I waited.

The next guest she helped took a very long time to check in. They had a number of questions about the hotel and transportation. And then they checked in a second room whose occupants would be arriving later. That took about 10 minutes. So when she was done, I asked if she wouldn’t mind checking on the room?

By this time it was 3:30 p.m. A man identifying himself as the manager walked up. He began speaking loudly,

This is the third time you’ve been to the desk. Our housekeepers have 9 rooms that need to be inspected, and they aren’t going to prioritize yours. I don’t need to check you in until 4 p.m.

I was a bit taken aback. I offered that maybe there was a misunderstanding? He told me I was being rude to his employee by asking again about the room, since it wasn’t check-in time yet. But she told me it would probably be ready?

He yelled, “Probably was the key word. It isn’t ready.”

I offered,

You seem to be suggesting that I’ve acted improperly by asking about my room three times. But the first time was just to approach the desk to check in. The second time was returning the way your agent asked me to. And the third time was checking back, since it had been 40 minutes and I’d been told it wouldn’t be more than 15 minutes at the longest.

I am never rude to hospitality staff. When they’re having a bad day, I try to empathize and joke with them about it. I’m far more self-effacing than demanding. So I’ve never experienced this before.

He kept repeating ‘other guests need to have rooms cleaned too’ (there was no one else waiting for a room), ‘they aren’t going to prioritize you’ (his desk agent had told me they would), and ‘I don’t have to check you in until 4 p.m.’ At that point I figured there was no way I was going to get a key before four, even if the room was ready.

The Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor changed management companies this year. It’s a franchise, which often means you’re going to get a subpar experience. In this case it’s run by HEI Hotels & Resorts. I’m not familiar with them in the sense of putting them on a ‘do not stay’ list the way I would Aimbridge (I find their properties skimp on maintenance) or DiamondRock (nickel and diming). But I’ll have to keep them on my radar.

The hotel itself is fine. They upgrade to junior suites, which are two rooms where one bedroom is a living room with a murphy bed. Spending points here as a Globalist gets free parking, and breakfast is either buffet or order off menu including lobster benedict.

The property could use some love, and comes across as far too dark, not really taking advantage of its amazing location on the water as it should. But, aside from the manager on duty when I checked in it’s a perfectly fine property near the airport.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What a shame. I have stayed at this property many times and have always had a great time. The runway and city views are incredible and the staff has always been super friendly in my experience.

  2. Crazy that as a customer we cannot rely on the Hyatt brand to know that we will get our benefits and a good experience. Now we need to know who is the operator and maybe who is the owner. These owners who skimp on service and loyalty benefits, like Aimbridge Diamondrock and now HEI… how do we give them the negative publicity they deserve? And make sure the brands know the damage they do to the brand?

    There is a bit of the tragedy of the commons going on here. These operators can, in the short term cut costs, give a subpar experience, and coast off the larger brand. But over time they are damaging the brand and they need to bear the consequence of their penny pinching behavior when it impacts guests.

    HR Boston Harbor appears to be owned and managed by HEI.

  3. I had recent problem with this hotel as well. I had a reservation for a night and my meeting was pushed a day later. So I canceled the first res within the cancel period and booked the second night. When I arrived, the check-in agent (the MOD) was confused. She said I did not have a reservation for that night – it was for the night before and I was treated as a no-show. I pulled up my confirmations on my phone and showed her the two reservations and the dated CXL email. She said she couldn’t explain it and told me she was un-doing the canceled room from the night before and moving it to the present night and I’d be good. Right.

    Not surprisingly, I was still charged the no-show. Sent an email to my WOH concierge and she sent it through their official channels to the property to reverse the charge. A week later she sent a reminder. A week later she sent another reminder. A week later she pushed it over to Hyatt corporate to work it and it was credited in two days.

    So beware.

  4. I got a suite upgrade here one and didn’t realize it until the next morning because housekeeping (or someone) had closed the connecting door 95% of the way shut. Apropos of nothing.

  5. Hyatt Place Airport in Zurich, Switzerland.
    Regular check in is 3pm. We arrived at 2pm
    Desk clerk demanded a $29 fee for early check in.

    It took three emails and a phone call to get the fee refunded.

    We will avoid staying at Hyatt properties !

  6. That guy clearly has no place in hospitality let alone hotel management.

    It’s also telling that the agent who was checking you in didn’t speak up on your behalf. Perhaps he’s not the kind of “boss” that their employees feel comfortable speaking up to when he’s off track.

  7. Related to hotels, but not this one: what’s the best place to complain to about junk fees? I got hammered for $76 “amenitie” at the Park Central Hotel in New York. These “amenities” were merely small discounts on other hotel products and services. Management would not budge. They cheered each other as I left the desk, defeated. I was nice, too.

  8. 99% of branded properties are franchised, so the presumption of “subpar” is fairly stupid considering you’re talking about nearly every branded property you stay at. Moreover, Aimbridge manages over 1k properties worldwide so good luck dodging them.

  9. Will cross this play place off my Boston choice of places to stay. Competition is fierce in ’23. Every bit helps or hinders when deciding. The comments here help in advance on knowing wgere to avaoid. Bad mananagement style filters doen.

  10. Ok I just have to somehow get it into the brains of everyone in the world like you ones that think guests service really goes “up the ladder” so to speak anymore……since the rule, not the exception, is that big name and branded hotels are all franchises/privately owned, your coveted memberships mean nothing to us at the front desk, except form maybe a more animated “how are you”. Since that is becoming the norm (and yes I do work with one of the larger main hotels), the “I’m going to call corporate” threats really give us a laugh…as it’s all sent back as a “case” for the privately owned property to decide on, which is you probably won’t get an answer. Going to call a lawyer? Ok call back with a number for noir reference and we can no longer speak to you only them. The lawyer will laugh at you trying to go against the legal TEAM if a larger Hotel. I could go on, but welcome to the future of guest service where FINALLY it’s not quite made your way anymore

  11. Hyatt has a real problem with its partners. I stayed at a Hyatt House in Los Colinas a year ago and they completely ignored all the benefits of my Globalist status. Tried to charge me for checking out past noon. Had no daily housekeeping. It’s sad because I switched from Bonvoy to World of Hyatt thinking it would be better. It’s not.

  12. What a shame! We have stayed at that property numerous times in the past and always loved it. Boston is my former home city and seeing that harbor view always moves me tremendously. Having a bad experience there might cause me to give them some old-school Boston right back….
    I wish Hyatt would do more to keep tabs on franchise properties.

  13. I haven’t found a hotel brand in the last decade which consistently provides good service. It’s despicable.

  14. I have worked front desk at several hotels in the past, and I have never witnessed a hotel manager calling out a guest for inquiring about when a room would be ready. While not justifying the manager’s actions, the manager is probably having to deal with high employee turnover. As a front desk hourly employee, I’ve had to assist in cleaning rooms and perform maintenance duties when necessary to get rooms ready by check in time. I worked my way up to rooms department manager, overnight manager, and weekend manager at various limited service and full service hotels.

    Fast forward to today, and I work at a corporate office of a hotel management company. For your information, some hotel management companies own hotels they manage, while others do not. The money to fund maintenance projects and renovations come from hotel owners, not management companies. Management companies ensure that hotels are maintained to brand standards. If a brand does not require certain maintenance upgrades, the owner is not obligated to pay for it. Regarding Aimbridge, they do not own any hotel that they manage.

  15. How NOT to offer proper customer service. The manager could have apologized and offered to have a couple drinks on the house in the lounge. But then again, maybe the bean counters in Hyatt management would have been been all over his rear when their data system flagged a couple $12 glasses of Scotch were comped.

  16. I stayed at that hotel several times and felt that it’s faculty, guest rooms, and services are more a Holiday Inn than a Hyatt Regency.

  17. The comment in the article about franchise and subpar experience is a good bit of hyperbole. Greater than 95% of North American hotels are some combination of franchise owned and/or operated.

    It’s really, really rare you can realistically tell the difference between a property that is corporately owned or managed versus one that is not. Maybe fifteen or twenty years ago there was a greater night and day difference where it was more apparent but now almost all are universally in a race to the bottom when it comes to staffing/costs/standards and direct corporate influence is not what it was at one time.

    Regarding your comment on Aimbridge, you’re underselling things. Aimbridge is basically allergic to putting money into their properties for anything capital related. They are masters of strip mining their places to the bone and beyond on all controllables which is how they have been able to grow so quickly over the last decade. Their favorite word is punt.

    Regarding the initial point, asking about your room three times is a bit excessive but the agent never should have told you something which isn’t fully true. They should have taken your number and offered to call or text when the room was realistically ready versus blowing smoke up your chute.

  18. Hyatt needs to exert more control over these franchises. They can’t just carry the Hyatt brand without Hyatt ensuring that every element of their brand, including WOH benefits, is executed precisely. We recently stayed at this hotel and had a perfect experience. Suite was spotless, arrived early but got room in 45 minutes. Breakfast lobster benedict was out of this world- chocked full of chunks of lobster. Will definitely stay here again. But Hyatt seems to lack much quality control over many franchise operations, especially Hyatt House and Hyatt Place properties and several Hyatt Regency properties.

  19. I got yelled at by Air France gate personnel in Paris for asking a question concerning my disability. They threatened my boarding the plane. I was so upset, I gave my husband my pass by mistake. For that mistake, I was singled out by their security and told Don’t Talk. Searched bag.
    Poor senior. They brought me to tears. Talk about getting yelled at. Husband has had pancreatic cancer treatment and I, severe back pain And they misplaced my walker. Cabin people were superb and helped me
    I know how it feels to be a quiet person and reprimanded.
    But since
    no response to letter to AF NYC, I would never fly them again. That’s what I get for letting Viking not put me on American Airlines, superb treatment since 1983.

  20. @michael
    Do you enjoy being a jerk to the guests or is it the control that gives you a high?

    Hyatt has fast tracked selling their hotels going from ownership to managing the franchise. Thus, service is going downhill.

    Marriott moved towards managing franchises years ago and they now focus on mining your data. The internet at Marriott hotels are fed into one system. The hotels recognize your device and link the data to your profile.

  21. On one hand:
    – We all make mistakes.
    – We (white collar folks) are privileged to not have our mistakes blasted on the internet to a large audience.
    – Customer facing work is stressful because of the huge variety of customers.
    – Anybody can have a bad day.
    – Working on the front lines of a hotel pays poorly and Boston is an expensive city.
    – As other commenters mentioned, the Northeastern US is home to a lot more confrontation and public displays of aggression than other parts of the country.

    On the other hand:
    – Yelling is not a simple “mistake.” It’s a breakdown of rudimentary etiquette. When we have to poo, we find a toilet. We don’t simply go on the floor. Yelling is the verbal equivalent of going on the floor. If you, as a corporation, find yourself needing to train or re-train somebody with the proclivity to yell at a customer for being a perceived nuisance, you are going to be starting from preschool level fundamentals of how to behave with respect in a society.

  22. Thanks for the heads-up. I know better than to stay at Hyatt Hotels. I am billeted there often by my company, and they are generally worse than other options…. So, not surprised at your experience. As always, vote with your dollars….

  23. I vote with my feet and post reviews, both good and bad for deserving places. Wanna be rude to the customer, enjoy it as it will be a one time only, there are enough hotels and restaurants around to pick and choose. Having a bad day is no excuse to treat a customer badly.

  24. The problem for most businesses through the lens of employees are the customers. If they went away then they wouldn’t have nearly as many problems.

  25. Thank you Gary, for your report about the worthless service from the hotel manager at the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor. His verbally truculent attitude from the hotel executive staff to any guest will compel me to avoid his property and all other Hyatt Hotel properties. After all, earning the Hyatt Hotel elite status of “Lifetime Globalist” or below is useless when Hyatt Hotel managers have a crappy attitude.

    The slogan of Hyatt Hotels is “enjoy life every day.” I think the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor manager uses the saying, “enjoy pissing off every guest, every day.” You should inquire if this Hyatt manager woke up on the wrong side of the floor and if he gives all valued guests the bums rush.

  26. Was going to that hotel a few times a year since 2013 but stopped last February after I learned that as a globalist I had only $29 allocation for Bf. Also in many many stays I was only upgraded a few times. Hyatt Cambridge not better. Also stopped to go there.

  27. HEI’s chairman once sent all employees with an email account pictures of his family’s ski vacation.

  28. I’ve stayed there 3 nights in the last 4 years. Daughter going to school in New Hampshire, so it’s a convenient place to burn my Hyatt free night when I have a late night arrival or an early morning departure. And for every visit, I’ve been unimpressed and promised myself I would find somewhere better to stay next time. It’s very quiet, the restaurant closes early (no food for my first visit post covid), and the shuttle is irregular. Also, while I did not have any confrontations with front desk staff like you did, I never met a nice one there, either…

    Really the only thing good is the harbour/runway views, and a decent bed. Gotta find a nicer place to stay next time- any suggestions by the airport?

  29. Try the Holiday Inn Kensington Station in London. My upgrade wasn’t available when I arrived but I was upgraded to a bigger room the next day. That was OK except the HVAC was not working (very cold room) the sink clogged and the phone had buttons missing. I politely complained 4 times. On checkout, I asked for the manager. “He’s busy…” I was prepared to wait until Hell froze over (easy in the cold room!) but my cab to LHR had just pulled up. “We’ll give you extra points.” “I don’t want points.” “We’ll adjust your bill.” Well that never happened. I wrote letters to IHG Americas and UK and only received an email (several tries later) from some flunky saying “We gave you points.” Useless. I paid the bill in full. Cut up my IHG Chase card. Mailed it back & closed my account. Transferred my 400,000 points to something else. Notified my employer (staff stays in the hotel FOR NOW!) and will not set foot in any IHG property again. Buh bye!

  30. Makes me wonder what is going through their minds when someone in a customer service business reacts like that. Even if you had gone up a dozen times, the right approach is to calmly apologize that “the room is not ready, instead of coming back to the desk we will call or text when it’s ready; at this point, it is not expected until 4pm. Ah, I’m sorry the agent said it’d be ready in 15 minutes; I’ve checked and at this point there is nothing we can do to expedite.” Of course, this requires a mindset of viewing a guest as a customer instead of a user.

  31. My Dad was the best salesman ever. Our family business was very successful because Dad told all of our sales people, “The customer is NOT always right. But, he’s always ‘the customer’ and can very well take the business elsewhere. It’s easier to keep him happy whenever possible than it is to find a new customer.” When our company was bought out, it was for a hefty price! Too bad some people just don’t get it. It doesn’t matter WHAT the business is…the employee salary is based on keeping the customer happy whenever it’s possible and get the repeat business. Sure…there are some really rotten customers and sometimes the business has to “cut bait” but that’s a last resort. Hotels (and some other businesses) can easily tell a “loyal customer” from a “one off” and it’s of little overall cost to throw the loyal customer a bigger bone than the one off. Again, buh bye IHG!

  32. I stay here every spring using my cat 4 free night. Never had this issue. Staff were never rude but never friendly. Over the last six years I can see it is slowly getting wear and tear that should be addressed. BTW, that looks like the same “suite” I was upgraded to last March. Great nightime view.
    I would never pay the $300 cash rate to stay here though.

  33. Hyatt sucks and is going downhill. Report him to management and Hyatt corporate. Hyatt does prioritize Globalists – but this clown probably doesn’t even know. Bring back Hyatt’s old management team, the new one is just so horrible

  34. I Got Yelled At By A Hyatt Manager For The First Time. Wow. Was this meant as a review of the hotel, or to bash the manager on duty. I see plenty of comments from guests or who have been guests in the past. I’m going to speak from someone who worked 5 plus years at the hotel and guests will never understand how HARD the hotel industry is. Front Office especially because we deal with EVERYTHING COMING TO US. If something happened or something went wrong it’s on us to explain to the guests. And then Unfortunately we receive some backlash and rudeness from guests. I’m not saying anyone deserve disrespect but if you think targeting an individual who is also human and doesn’t get the chance to tell their side. So please Gary have some grace and understand everyone is human everyone makes mistakes and titling a blog to attack a person is just mean and really makes someone feels worse than they probably were.

  35. I got yelled at by a hotel front desk person before. I was really shocked and taken aback. I almost never get yelled at. I think the guy had a bad day and just released his negative energy at me. I did not deserve to be treated that way. But he probably gets treated poorly often. Or maybe just isn’t having a very good life. He almost certainly does not remember this incident. But, for some reason I still do, very visibly too.

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