Group check-in or Elite check-in – what should be the priority?

Posted on June 7, 2014 by in Hotel Reviews, Priority Pass Lounges

So I had this issue in Lima in December when I stayed and reviewed the Sheraton Lima.

I was in line as a (Platinum) Elite member (of course no extra line for Elites was available) and a flight crew arrived in the meantime. The check-in agents handled the flight crew immediately while I was put back another 20 minutes in line (and my requests for free WiFi were turned down).

Now fast forward to today when I checked in at the Radisson Belorusskaya. It's a hotel with almost 200 rooms that was supposedly sold out (that's what the agents mentioned at the time of booking).

I came by at 8 AM and no rooms were available – fair enough. I came back at 7.30 PM and a tour group went straight ahead of me when I was in the middle of being served by the check-in agent. There was only one agent available (which seems really risky given the number of rooms). The group's tour agent wasted no time and stepped right in front of me, dropped all the passports and showed no courtesy to move away again. He was completely aware that I was being served but couldn't have cared less. This much I understand (this is Wild East Russia after all) but the agent made no move to reprimand him.

Now groups can be a huge business – rates run at $300 a night for a run-of-the-mill Radisson. I'm sure the tourists with no status don't pay these rates but a much lower rate. Neither do I since I stay on points but I'm also a Club Carlson Gold. The hotel will be able to get the full rack rate from Club Carlson since it's 'sold out'.

Given that some hotels choose not to have separate tour desks or even separate Elite lines, how should that work in theory and in practice? What is your take?

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