REGAL HOSPITALITY: Your valued feedback please

The fact that you worked for an MSC that only has lifestyles shops would obviously skew your observations as an operations manager.

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At the moment only demons come to mind

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@bgriffin wrote:

The fact that you worked for an MSC that only has lifestyles shops would obviously skew your observations as an operations manager.

Yes, if it were based on my opinion or observations...that would be true The data on shoppers I referenced did not come from the MSC, however. It was collected by an independent research firm and represented a sample of shoppers from all MSPA member companies combined. There could be some differential, as all MSCs are not members, but I think you understand my point.
Just a note about PMs regarding my posts on this thread. Those asking for help are already veteran shoppers. I will not be responding to any further PMs requesting information on which MSCs provide such well paid and/or high bonus bank shops. Learning to use the search function on the forum will provide a lot of names of MSCs that do banking and investment and mortgage shops. After that, making a reputation that will get you such offers is the obvious next step. You should not need more help with "searching" and no one but you can do the second step.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Even if you don't agree with SteveSoCal, you have to admit that he does have an unique perspective and interesting nuggets of information.
I really enjoy working with Regal Hospitality. I only do a handful of shops a year for them, but the pay is fair and I was even given a Christmas bonus from them this past year for doing a lot of shops. Liza is great to work with and I've done some really nice properties for them. Most shops are just auditing hotel bars/restaurants, but I don't mind free food and drinks smiling smiley
I have been reading this topic with a great deal of interest. I have been shopping for over ten years and have done hotel, casino, and high end dining for a number of companies. On SteveSoCal’s shopper segmentation post I find my-self in the category of a stay-at-home spouse who uses mystery shopping income to add value to the household. While it is not the primary source of our household’s income I shop more or less full time so the monetary contribution is not insignificant. So I would say that the money offered by mystery shopping is important to me. My philosophy on deciding which “lifestyle” shops to accept has always been that while I may find value in the experience, I will not do a shop where I lose money just to experience a hotel or resort that my spouse and I might not otherwise get to enjoy. Fees and reward points only go so far when you factor in the cost of travel and the value of your time writing up the report.
@OHGuy wrote:

Fees and reward points only go so far when you factor in the cost of travel and the value of your time writing up the report.

I think that's really the heart of the discussion about lifestyle shops and the differences between the various MSCs that offer them. Good points from OHGuy.

While I certainly have been guilty of losing money to take some assignments, those particular assignments carried a value to me that was greater than the cost. The main point being with most lifestyle shops (for me at least) is that it doesn't generally matter if a shop pays $75 or $100. That $25 differential would not make me take or cancel an assignment. My time in performing the assignment and completing the report is worth so much more than the MSC could possibly pay, the experience generally has to be the payoff.

I start back to work full-time this month for the remainder of the year, so my hotel shopping has com to a close for this year. I took two final hotel assignments to close out my year; One from Coyle that offered a luxury experience in a seaside town I wanted to visit. Another from Regal for an airport hotel where I really wanted the points. Both offered the same pay rate and Coyle gave me enough enough travel $$ so my financial profit from each would have been nearly identical.

The Coyle report was arduous. They upgraded my status with the hotel chain and that required yet one more additional form I had to fill out, as well as extra attention fro the staff that created even more work. Per my usual M.O. I didn't do any reporting at the hotel, but it took me all day Saturday and Sunday after returning home to complete the report. That said, it was an amazing experience at the hotel. Food was covered for the entire stay and the restaurant was one of the best I have been to in a while. The bill was around $2,000 for everything, and we had a bottle of wine and snacks sent up to the room on top of that. I was a great vacation that I was moderately happy to exchange a weekend sitting in front of my computer for.

The Regal report would also have been arduous. Upon going over the instructions and speaking with the scheduler, I was informed that i could not utilize my status with the hotel chain upon check-in. I could only request points for the stay after check-out. Now...this is an airport hotel. Getting the worst possibly available room at this very basic property when I have platinum status with the hotel chain, not receiving any points for all of the F&B that had be paid in cash, waiting for the cash reimbursement and eating breakfast from the airport hotel buffet was starting to seem like a bad deal, especially with a reporting window much tighter than Coyle (albeit less narrative required). I was feeling hesitant after having such a great experience at the previous hotel and then the jury duty summons showed up for the very day I was scheduled to check in.

Perhaps it was divine intervention. I was looking for a sign and there it was. Despite the fact the the hotel is literally walking distance for the court I need to be at, there was no way I was going to sully my final hotel stay of the year by sitting in a jury pool al day for $15, drinking cheap vodka at the hotel bar in the evening for another $75, and then staying up all night to report on it. I scanned the jury summons and sent it the scheduler. They were happy to release me and the hotel was immediately scheduler to another shopper. Someone that hopefully needed the hotel points more than I did. We all have our own priorities....
Hi @Mantis,

This is Alex with Regal Hospitality Group. I am very sorry to read this post, and would like to get to the bottom of this issue. Please email Planner@regalhg.com so that we can get more information.

Thank you,

Alexandra Freeman
Scheduler/Editor
Regal Hospitality Group
www.regalhospitalitygroup.com
813-854-1855
af@regalhg.com
SteveSoCal, I take your point regarding the differences between the MSC’s that offer hotel/resort shops. My opinion is colored by the fact that the majority of the 50 or so hotel shops I have completed over the years have been for Regal. I have found my experience with them to be very positive however the properties have mostly been business class full service hotels in major or mid-market cities. They have not been the type of destination properties you have described in your various posts. Perhaps if I had done some of those types of assignments I would have a different view.

My hotel shops have been similar to what you describe in your airport assignment with Regal. I received no points for food and beverage because those interactions had to paid in cash; no upgraded room because I was not allowed to tell them I am a Gold Member of their rewards program until check-out; coming up with a lame excuse as to why I booked the room and did not use my rewards number (This is particularly challenging when they see my Gold status and know that I stay with them frequently); and realizing on my way home that I have 6-8 hours of work ahead of me cloistered in my upstairs office while my wife enjoys the company of our son, daughter in law and 3 year old grandson who have texted us and asked if it would be OK if they came over for dinner and a visit. Under these circumstances the monetary compensation is EVERYTHING because the warm glow of the experience has been totally washed away by the realization of what I will be missing that evening.
@OHGuy wrote:

Coming up with a lame excuse as to why I booked the room and did not use my rewards number.

That's the part which stings the most. The excuse given for not booking under the rewards program is to maintain anonymity, but who on earth would check into a hotel they have elevated status with, use the hotel reward credit card, and wait in a line of guests to check in when they have the option to use the expedited member's line? Like I didn't notice I was given the worst possible room and no access to the club lounge?

Isn't that the biggest giveaway that you're a shopper? Perhaps @alexandrarhg can explain the policy.

To me, it comes off as the MSC simply not wanting the shopper to receive the benefits. The benefits are not being tested, so there's no advantage to the MSC allowing the shopper to receive them, and potentially some irritation from the hotel manager when they have to provide benefits and then reverse the folio.

When Coyle had that group of hotel as a client, they were specifically testing benefit recognition (which is how I became Platinum) and I became accustomed to receiving them, which makes it sting all the more when a shop prohibits them....
I wanted to add on probably what is a very small segment of mystery shoppers. For me there are multiple draws to mystery shopping. I have always been the feedback person interested in letting a company know how I felt about either egregious wrongs or wonderful rights in their business. So why not do it, get reimbursed/paid for it and know that some person who can make changes is reading my report? I prefer the reimbursement shops as I am in a high tax state and not in the low tax bracket so there is added worth for me to "earn" some or all of my wages with reimbursed non taxed money to pay for things I like. In addition I am what people call thrifty or cheap etc and also prefer non luxury, even when it comes to luxuries I can afford. I have a pretty simple outdoorsy lifestyle. I am fortunate enough to be able financially to pick and choose my mystery shop jobs. Most do not reimburse me just because I do not find many where it is worth my while to do a report for something I care about having. But I will still figure out whether each job is worth it to me using my personal formula to figure what I will get out of it both monetarily and experience wise.
Like several have mentioned I have no interest in doing a very high end hotel. I do not really care about beautiful pools and posh lobbies and certainly would not want to spend a whole weekend doing a report in exchange for that. On the other end I do not want to stay in a roach infested place so somewhere in the middle in terms of what I receive for reimbursement for my work (money+experience+reimbursements+points or whatever) has to balance out time spent on a report, travel time and hassles. Each of us has our own sweet spot for this balance based on our needs and wants.
I like posh pools, what I don't like is the pampering. When I am at a hotel I want to be left alone. While I love the room service reimbursement I have no desire to spend 2 hours eating in the hotel restaurant. I would prefer spending my own money and not have to spend the time eating or writing. I have no interest in any of the forced interactions in most hotels and I find them annoying. That's why I partucularly like Regals 3* shops. There are only 2 differences in a shop or a personal stay for me. I would order the exact same items in the bistro, i would only order it to go, and I would not eat breakfast. I'm ok wiith those two things because I still get to use the app to check out with and no report on that part.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/2017 07:35PM by bgriffin.
@sandyf wrote:

I do not really care about beautiful pools and posh lobbies and certainly would not want to spend a whole weekend doing a report in exchange for that.
It's a lot more than that; it's the personal touches and the extraordinary service. It's beachfront access and having what seems like your own pool boy. It's high-end bedding and beds that you melt into and have the best night's sleep ever; after your skilled masseuse rubs out tension knots buried so deep you would never have relaxed enough to know they were there. And it's about the airfare to get there; sometimes you can add a day or two beforehand at a less-expensive, but still very nice, hotel near the target.

When it's just to sleep, any clean hotel will do. When it's a destination, however, it's often worth the extra effort (or $ if you're paying on your own) to be treated like a prince/ss.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
@iShop123 wrote:

@sandyf wrote:

I do not really care about beautiful pools and posh lobbies and certainly would not want to spend a whole weekend doing a report in exchange for that.
It's a lot more than that; it's the personal touches and the extraordinary service. It's beachfront access and having what seems like your own pool boy.

Sounds very nice i shop123....if I did not have to do a whole bunch of long involved reports to get to the level of shop you are talking about. I suppose if they offered to fly me somewhere and allowed me to stay a few nights without having done a mess of 4 star places first I might be tempted to do a long report...but get a massage, run back and regurgitate a report, have the pool boy fuss over me, run back and do another report etc even worse if i saved them all up and did them at the end of the stay. No, I will leave these to you and the others who appreciate them more.....If anyone wants to invite me as their guest though I would be happy to try it out. !
@LindaM wrote:

I believe with Regal, there are grades that are even higher than the standard "A".

I believe you are correct. I think there may be 2 higher than A.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@#$%&, have you ever shopped for Regal? Have you ever done a single mystery shop in your life? If so, with whom? I don't understand why you pretend you can add any sort of wisdom or expertise to the forum if you have never done a shop.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

@#$%&, have you ever shopped for Regal? Have you ever done a single mystery shop in your life? If so, with whom? I don't understand why you pretend you can add any sort of wisdom or expertise to the forum if you have never done a shop.

Oh Jasflalmt,
Wisdom, when imparted properly, can prove to enlighten ones inner spirit. None of us can claim to be wise, but we all put our mark on this earth and share our experiences. I, for one, appreciate the wisdom that our fine colleagues supply us.

Sincerely and God Bless,

Hoju

Hoju Copeland

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
We are discussing Regal MSC here.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I completed two jobs for Regal in 2008, both paid as agreed, and for each the work was consummate with the pay. When, though, I accepted a third shop, I noticed the company had doubled the pay time from 45 to 90 days. I contacted the office to verify my understanding and promptly both cancelled the assignment and deactivated my account. It is my opinion that any MSC that takes three months to pay is either short on finances or desires to use my money as an interest free loan.
It's interesting to me, the idea of lifestyle shoppers - the ones who shop in exchange for meals or hotel stays that they otherwise would not experience, for whatever reason. So, here's what I am curious about - where is the line you won't cross? how much required work does it take, related to one of these shops, where you decide it's not worth the trade off? I recognize the answers to this question are unique to each person.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/13/2017 10:09PM by BarefootBliss.
That’s a good question. If I can’t spend at least 50% of my time at a hotel/resort NOT working, then I’m not doing it. I’ve gotten to the point where, with the companies that I work for, that number is closer to 80%.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
I completed two jobs for this MSC 10 years ago, with each having nary a problem and both acceptably rewarding me. After selecting a third shop, though, I noticed a doubling of the payment time from 45 days to 90. I immediately sent an E-letter, which was promptly answered confirming that change. As, in my opinion, the main two reasons for such a decision are cash flow problems and/or a desire to use my money interest free, I requested and was given my deactivation.
the 90-day thing is very irritating, I'll admit, but it doesn't affect my ability to work for them.
Also, did you just use the term "E-letter?" smiling smiley

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
Hoju,

As I have been online since 02/97, I do not have any recollection of when I began using the term E-letter, but, knowing me, I am guessing it was to differentiate from literally writing; the "E" representing both electronic and E-mail.

With respect to Regal, my limited association was as positive as possible; it was only the doubling of the pay period I found unacceptable. During my 1 1/2 decades in this business, two other MSCs with whom I was registered also raised their pay time to 90 days, but, within two years both reverted to 45. Obviously, Regal has been successful with the change.
@walesmaven wrote:

PG,
More experienced Regal shoppers get a chance at more posh properties.

Also, I want no part of the reports for hotels with $500 fees. I have friends who do them, all over the world, and both the number and intensity of the interactions, not just the volume of the report, just makes me shake my head. I can do 2 or 3 $250 mortgage shops in much less time and with no risk to me. (True, the food at banks is not as good as some of those high end hotel restaurants, but I do not have to write a report on it, either, lol.)
Where can I find these high end mortgage shops? I did one for Ath and it was for 40. I need some high dollar no investment shops as well. My hubby is laid off right now (sort of-out of phones for the end of the year audit.)
The guest's first shop with them was a 3 night resort. The guest's head was spinning trying to complete the tasks to their satisfaction and to get it in on time. The guest had 3 consults with the editor and commented surprise that the guest's first assignment was a 3 night stay at a world class resort. The resort was first class but the rooms though comfortable were shabby and needed to be brought up to this century.
I always thought they forced everybody to start with their standard 3-star hotels. If not, it would be very wise to.
I did two 3-nights back to back last year and loved it.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
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