A couple of days ago, I was in Rusinga having a great time and getting ready for the Rusinga Cultural Festival when things went wrong. Some of our rooms at Blue Ridge Hotel Rusinga were gotten into and we lost some of our possessions. We were having dinner when I was asked to give out my key so that my water could be checked, there was no hot water in my room. I decided to go up, and after the guy checked the water I went to pick my camera phone which had been charging. I couldn’t find it so I started searching everywhere for it. No luck. I thought maybe it had fallen on the side of the bed and I was about to look for it when I noticed my purse was open and it was empty, no sign of the 8 K plus that was there earlier. Realizing that I had been robbed, I looked for my laptop. It was gone. My heart was beating like a loud African drum at this point. I went down to the reception and reported to the receptionist. She looked clueless and did nothing. I quickly went to my friends and when they checked some of them had been robbed. One of our friends was on second floor and she found that it’s like they were in the middle of breaking her door but when they heard me they must have fled. It’s important to note that on first floor our doors were opened and closed again, our hotel keys were kawaida keys like the one you would have on a house door. The second-floor doors were a combination kind of lock. Some of my pals lost cameras and cash.
Based on how management reacted and the things I noted here is my advice to hoteliers.
- Don’t hire clueless receptionists.
Customers don’t care who you hire just make sure they understand their jobs. I don’t care if your receptionist or guard is your relative or friend train them to act immediately there is a crisis. That receptionist to be honest was no help, when I told her we were robbed, she did not react. I asked for numbers for the cops, she did nothing. It was until we started causing that management was called. That was enough time for the thief/thieves to get away. If she had been a quick thinker she would have closed the main door, there is only one door to leave the hotel.
Train your staff on how to deal with security issues, in fact have it written down as a procedure.
- Don’t start blaming the clients who have been robbed.
At some point when the cops finally came and looked through some of the rooms, they found a guy who apparently checked in just after us, paid for one night and then paid for another night then had disappeared after the robbery. His bags were gone and it was assumed it was the robber. Then the story started that the guy could have been with us. Our bookings mind you had been made in advance. So, we checked in when cash had already been deposited.
Some guys came in on Tuesday and others came in on Wednesday and somehow it was suggested that maybe some of us robbed the others because we didn’t know each other (this is partly because most of the guys who checked in on Tuesday were guys who had not known each other before the trip. I knew all the guys who checked in on Wednesday but most of the guys for Tuesday we had met for the first time).
— Magunga (@theMagunga) December 22, 2016
- Don’t act like you calling the cops or bringing in other security professionals to handle the case you are doing me a favour. I was robbed at your establishment and the least you can do is look like you are dealing with the matter. How much you spend is not my business, deal with the issue. You are bringing in cops to make sure that the integrity of your hotel’s name is preserved not as a favour to me. If we had been home we would have known who to call, we are in a strange land and so we don’t know who to contact.
- Don’t tell me how important people have stayed at your hotel and never been robbed. We are also important, we have paid for rooms, don’t dismiss my concerns because we apparently are nobody’s. The fact that somebody has paid to be in your hotel means they are equally as important as the VIPs. If the VIPS don’t come again because somebody else was robbed will it matter to you then. We kind of got the feeling that the reason why there was no urgency in dealing with our situation is because we were not what was considered VIPs. The reason why VIPs were not robbed was maybe because they came with their own security or the hotel provided extra security. I can’t tell, this was my first visit to your hotel so how do I know what you do about security arrangements.
- Even though you have my contacts don’t bother to contact me directly. Always prefer to go through a third party as they appear to be more rational.
- Don’t have safes in the rooms and when one does down to ask if there is a safe at the reception to leave a laptop don’t have one. By the way the receptionist told me that I could leave it in an open box behind her, that made me feel my laptop would be so safe (insert sarcasm) I decided to leave it in my room.
- Don’t tell your staff that it is not professional to have four rooms open at the same time when they are cleaning one room. I kid you not, when the staff were cleaning they opened all the rooms on my side and left them open. When I asked they told me don’t worry nothing will be stolen. A perfect time for a robber to notice what is where.
- Don’t have security cameras or keys that are not easily duplicated in your hotel. There were no security cameras in the hotel that we saw, so we couldn’t even tell how they got into our rooms.
- Afterwards do not do anything to show that you truly regret what happened, like give a complimentary drink or meal. Or even move us to different, more secure rooms, no leave me in the very room I was robbed, no need to worry about my security and how I feel unsafe in that room. There is no need to show good customer service to people who are not VIPs, no need to make amends to people who are embarrassing your hotel because they have told everybody on social media that they were robbed.
In fact just let them go back to where they came from angry, when you could have diffused the situation by being kind and practicing some customer care. But no they are not VIPs it does not matter.
Part two will be for you dear fellow traveler. Here it is – Travel: How To Minimize Your Chances Of Getting Robbed At Your Hotel