BELGIAN CYCLIST GROUP EXPRESSES INCREDULITY OVER HOTEL PAYMENT TERMS
(Posted 05th April 2015)
A group of 15 Belgian cyclists, who have come to Uganda to follow in the footsteps of last year’s Brussels Airlines’ cycling event, expressed their consternation when they were told by the Hotel International on Muyenga Hill in Kampala that their cash payment to secure their rooms was no good and that the owners insisted on payment via Western Union.
Further digging revealed that apparently do the owners not trust the managers who in turn do not trust their staff. It appears that should in fact cash be received and receipted, there are doubts across the hierarchy of this hotel that the money would still be there intact the next day and not vanish into thin air overnight.
A staff of the Belgian Embassy who had helped to put the trip together, expressed his own surprise when he narrated the story to this correspondent that cash was no good at this hotel inspite Uganda remaining largely a cash based economy with credit or debit card penetration still very low. After appealing to the managers to permit cash payment, ready to drive to the hotel to pay, he was within a few minutes told to take his business elsewhere unless he agreed to pay via Western Union, of course also covering the high fees that payment platform collects from those remitting funds.
The group was subsequently rebooked into another hotel for their first and last night in Uganda, confirmed instantly at their new venue and their cash accepted without hesitation, receipt issued and thank you very much for staying with us.
It goes to show that professionalism in some quarters of the hotel industry in Uganda still lacks with such amateurs allowed to play hoteliers. No doubt will the exposure here raise alarm bells within the hotel association and other circles. Sadly, when like in this case it impacts on a client’s visiting experience it can only be hoped for that those responsible for such crude and rude methods be called to answer to the licensing authorities and explain why they should retain their hotel license and not lose it or be fined for their arbitrary behaviour.
Happy Easter, but not to those responsible for this incredible lack of service and refusal to accept money and rather tell the clients to get lost over their own internal problems.
The Chairperson of UHOA, the Uganda Hotel Owners Association, and the Executive Director Ms. Jean Byamugisha, reacted swiftly to the report and UHOA just responded with an email which is published below:
I had an opportunity to read the article about the hoteliers who turned away tourists that wanted to pay cash. It is indeed very unfortunate that this happened especially now when Uganda is making alot positive strides in the tourism industry.
I immediately called the manager at Hotel International and he was absolutely horrified. I expressed my deep disappointment and i have been assured that action is going to be taken. I have also been assured that the hotel has never had such a policy in place and the manager is the of the view that a disgruntled staff was trying to tarnish the name of the hotel. The manager has expressed his deepest regrets to the tourists and the Belgian embassy for this grave inconvenience and humiliation.
On behalf of the Chairlady of the Uganda Hotel Owners association, I would like to express our sincerest regrets for this situation. If you would be kind enough to get us in touch with the Belgium team and contact at the embassy, i would like to reach out to them and together with Hotel International offer our sincerest apologies.
I would also like to thank you for publishing this article and bringing it to our attention. I want to assure you that action will be taken to improve the service of Hotel International. I spoke to Mr Isma Mugelwa the manager at Hotel International, also copied on this email and he has also expressed his deepest regrets.
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