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  #141 (permalink)  
Old 9th March 2011, 04:20 PM
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Default Intro

One thing i want to say and make clear before I say anything else: I am a current employee of Accor Advantage Plus, a consultant for the membership, and have been for several years.

I stumbled on this forum recently, and have read all posts, and thought that someone from within the membership really should be available here as MOST of the (negative) posts seem to be issues that members are facing, or have faced, with their membership; and that most of these issues could be addressed quite easily. That is why I have come to join this forum.

I will do my best to answer any questions or concerns people have with the membership, and will also offer suggestions for issues people may be facing. But please remember that i am doing this of my own accord, I AM NOT here on this forum at the direction of my employer or anyone else.

If you are a member and have any questions or issues, if you need help, as always, you SHOULD contact Member Services (their number is on the back of your membership card). Most things can be dealt with very easily and quickly by them.

If you are considering joining, I URGE you to read this forum, to listen to what members have said about the membership, to listen to what EVERYONE has said, but to also give the consultant who has contacted you the opportunity to answer any of your concerns and make your decision to join or not based on ALL information.

Please also feel free to contact me directly (via personal message) if you wish, or if you are not happy posting directly to the forum. I will be happy to answer any questions as directly and honestly as possible.
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  #142 (permalink)  
Old 10th March 2011, 10:54 AM
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Default bad experience both years as an Accor member

I experienced the same problems both years of being an Accor member. I blame myself for being a sucker for punishment and renewing the second time around. But that's because the Accor telesales reps are annoyingly persistent and full of promises.

Same as a year ago, I am unable to book the free room. Sure, I see some people are able to get that 'free' room but you know what, you guys just got LUCKY. You got the ONE room they put aside for accor members that month, woo hoo!

So majority of members have to take the **** I am taking. And when you live in Singapore where they've sold tons of memberships, you're fighting with a lot of people to get that single free room.

The only reason I renewed last year was so that the 'free' room could be extended. Yet I have not been able to book it once again. So there you go, my membership expires by 31st March 2011 and its all full - be it weekdays or weekends or whichever hotel. BUT, renew and they will extend the 'free' room. NO THANKS I SAY, JUST LET IT EXPIRE!
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  #143 (permalink)  
Old 11th March 2011, 09:31 AM
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The room allocation for the complimentary night (or FOC) is based on a percentage of the total number of rooms a hotel has, and is the same every day of the year for each hotel.

The FOC is the only benefit of the AP membership that remains subject to an allocation, and this is clearly pointed out on all sales calls, all other benefits regarding accommodation can be used every day right to the last room in all properties!

I will make a couple of suggestions that might help:

Firstly, and most importantly, use a little common sense here. Knowing it is allocated, don't leave it until the last minute to either use it OR book it, look at booking it in the first few months of your membership so as you not only have the time to book it in advance but also so you can get a feel for how popular the hotel you would like to use your FOC at is on the night you would like to use it (most commonly a Saturday night).

Second, IF you have left it until the last minute, be flexible with the hotels you are looking at. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to book an FOC last minute at a Sofitel (not that it doesn't happen!), but have you considered a Mercure or IBIS? At last minute these may be your only option, better to use it than loose it, right?

Third, have you considered an upgrade? Most hotels will go over their normal allocation on the FOC if you are choosing to upgrade to a different room type (anything above a standard, or 'lead in' room), yes there is a nominal fee to do this, but again better to use it than loose it. Some people always book their FOC with an upgrade, i know i have for the last 4-5 years!

My final tip is to keep checking. People do cancel their FOC bookings. If someone cancels, obviously that room is returned to the available FOC rooms the hotel has for that night, and will immediately become available for booking.

I hope this helps, if not try calling member services as they may have some other suggestions, or send me a message with something specific and I'll see if i can help further.
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  #144 (permalink)  
Old 11th March 2011, 10:11 AM
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Thanks for these clarifications. As a consultant, you know the sales pitch. You say the allocation is clearly pointed out on sales calls. So the question I would have to you is: is it made absolutely crystal clear to the customer when the sales team rings people, as stated on this thread, that the "free night" allocation is LIMITED? Are they strongly advised to book in advance? Is the customer implicitly asked to confirm they understand this is the case? Can you give us the wording in the script that is used?

If you have this kind of safeguard to the sales calls as stated, then the customer has little recourse on forums such as this to complain they did not understand - unless the allocation is too small for a person to reasonably book a holiday, and thus the statement on the website - "a membership that pays for itself in one night, now that's a plus!" - is perhaps misleading.
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Last edited by steveadmin; 11th March 2011 at 10:25 AM. Reason: Missed in your original post that you stated the allocation was clearly stated in sales calls
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  #145 (permalink)  
Old 11th March 2011, 10:49 AM
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It is clearly pointed out when going though the benefits, yes.

I don't have a script in front of me, but from memory (and i have read it thousands of times, though i won't say i'm going to be 100% here) we say "The only thing we ask is that you book your free night in advance, as it is subject to an allocation".

I think, personally, that in telling prospective members that "we ask they book it in advance", and that "the free night is subject to an allocation", makes it rather clear.

Do we totally stop the presentation to confront people and ask if they totally understand what we've just said? Does Coke tell you in their advertising that their product rots your teeth and that it can be used to cook a steak? Does every chocolate bar carry a HUGE warning that it may contain nuts, like the warnings cigarette packs? No, and it would be ridiculous to expect these things. However, if and when we are asked further about the conditions, if we are asked to clarify, we do.

As i said in my initial post, I am here to HELP, to try to answer any issues or concerns people may have with the membership. Clearly the FOC is an issue for a few members, and i feel my reply to the previous "anon" post was in this light. I am not going to say anyone is to blame for not taking into account that the FOC is subject to an allocation, even though it is made quite clear that it is; what i will say though is this, if people have ANY issue with the membership they should contact us so we can help them.

Also i would say here, that as the administrator and OWNER of this forum, i feel your post to be confrontational and showing of bias (though significantly less than your original, unedited post). I have come here to try to help people with issues they may be facing with a membership that they have spent good money on in the interest of trying to assist, and I feel it is unfair for you to make such an attack on someone who is trying to help and inform people within a forum you have created (i thought) to do just that, help and inform.

As i was in the process of replying to the previous post it was edited, heavily, and MOST of the negative and confrontational nature of the original post was removed.

Last edited by Adv+Consultant; 11th March 2011 at 11:12 AM.
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  #146 (permalink)  
Old 11th March 2011, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveadmin View Post
If you have this kind of safeguard to the sales calls as stated, then the customer has little recourse on forums such as this to complain they did not understand - unless the allocation is too small for a person to reasonably book a holiday, and thus the statement on the website - "a membership that pays for itself in one night, now that's a plus!" - is perhaps misleading.
I believe the allocation of rooms is around 10%. If you took each of the properties at having an average of 200 rooms (though some have significantly more), that would be 20 rooms per night, over 500 hotels this is 1000 rooms per night... over the year, on that average, that would be at least 365,000 rooms allocated. This is of course just an example, I don't know the exact percentages, but I do know that over the course of the year more rooms are allocated to the FOC than the number of members we have.

do i think the statement "a membership that pays for itself in one night" is misleading, absolutely not! i have members who have saved SIGNIFICANTLY more than their membership fee by using their free night wisely
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  #147 (permalink)  
Old 11th March 2011, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv+Consultant View Post
Also i would say here, that as the administrator and OWNER of this forum, i feel your post to be confrontational and showing of bias (though significantly less than your original, unedited post). I have come here to try to help people with issues they may be facing with a membership that they have spent good money on in the interest of trying to assist, and I feel it is unfair for you to make such an attack on someone who is trying to help and inform people within a forum you have created (i thought) to do just that, help and inform.
I take great exception to this comment. How did I attack you? I made a number of pertinent comments questioning both the sales pitch and the slogan on the Accor Advantage Plus website. I made no such attack or comment on you personally. You are not your company!

I very much welcome your presence here - I said as much in in a post I made earlier today on the Thailand forum. But if you're going to be uber-sensitive to probing questions about the sales pitch of the company you work for, then we're not going to get very far, are we?
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  #148 (permalink)  
Old 11th March 2011, 12:20 PM
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I considered removing it after you totally changed your original post. I took the original wording to be a personal attack, not just one on the membership, and i took offence. As i have said I am here to HELP people, and I felt your original post to be unnecessarily confrontational, though i responded to it as i said i would respond. Your later edit of course totally changed this.

I am happy to remove that part of my reply to your post in light of your edit, though i would ask 2 things of you. That your last post (regarding this) be removed along with my reply, and that you CONSIDER removing the word "Bad" from the title of this thread

Last edited by Adv+Consultant; 11th March 2011 at 12:23 PM.
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  #149 (permalink)  
Old 11th March 2011, 12:53 PM
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OK - I didn't (and don't) make personal attacks, and my post did not contain any either before or after it was edited. If you read my post history on this site, I trust you will find I'm a reasonable fellow. So let's keep the posts as they are for posterity, and hopefully we can agree to turn over a new leaf on this thread from now on.

I have been following this thread for about a year, and have largely stayed out of it save for removing personal attacks that others have made against other members - it's clearly a contentious issue. Now seems as good a time as any to make the following observations on what I have read.

Complaint threads are, by their nature, biased. You don't get an accurate cross-section of the membership on a complaint thread; you usually just get the ones who have a problem. A number of people on this thread have posted their frustrations with the inability to acquire their "free night". A number of others, on the other hand, have posted that they have no problems at all, and are very happy with the program, having saved a lot of money when using the dining benefits etc. The only thing that can be gleaned from this thread is that some people seem to have a problem/criticism, but how widespread it might be is impossible to say.

As for the root of these problems, I had suspected a combination of miscomprehension by members and miscommunication by AA+. The latter seems to have been ruled out by the Sales Consultant we have on here; it seems to be stated in the sales pitch that free nights are based on an allocation. Therefore, the only remaining gripe for people is whether this allocation is sufficient for a person to reasonably book their holiday. Again, some say yes, no problem; others say no.

Hopefully this thread can give potential customers the pros and cons from both satisfied and unsatified members, and help all members realise that the allocation for nice hotels like the Sofitels needs to be booked well in advance. I'd suggest that Accor should also look to get this concept across to their members, else they're faced with a bunch of angry people (angry at Accor, or angry at themselves for failing to act on their "free" night sooner? ) criticising the program that others seem to have no issues with.

What would clear the issue up once and for all is if we could perform a number of "tests" on allocation availability. Perhaps AA+ members reading this who still have a "free" night to use could run a number of "tests" on the availability for their "free" night? Say if you're in Sydney, or Singapore, or Bangkok, what's the availability for the next, say, 3 months at weekends? What kind of properties are available? How about midweek? Getting many of these reports in would give us an accurate picture of how stressed the allocations are (or indeed, if they are at all).

Hope people are willing to post their results!

cheers
Steve
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  #150 (permalink)  
Old 11th March 2011, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveadmin View Post
Hopefully this thread can give potential customers the pros and cons from both satisfied and unsatified members, and help all members realise that the allocation for nice hotels like the Sofitels needs to be booked well in advance. I'd suggest that Accor should also look to get this concept across to their members, else they're faced with a bunch of angry people (angry at Accor, or angry at themselves for failing to act on their "free" night sooner? ) criticising the program that others seem to have no issues with.
This is EXACTLY the reason I have decided to come and join this forum. To help people with their issues if I can, to help members get better value and use from their memberships, and i also to help people who are trying to make a decision as to the value of the membership for themselves.

Personally, I think people who are considering Adv+ need to know of the issues that MAY occur. PLEASE read this forum, read the good AND bad, but please allow the consultant you have been speaking with to reply to your concerns before you make your decision to join or not.


I totally agree with everything else that was said!

As far as testing allocations, it is impossible to do this as there is no way to tell how many rooms have been booked on an FOC at any hotel at any time unless you are in that particular hotels reservations department, but i love your suggestion as to checking AVAILABILITY! Time consuming, but doable. I would be happy to cancel my own FOC booking to check if people would be interested.
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