If you operate any type of hospitality property, you should know your number one priority for success is – Great Customer Service Stories.
Welcome to another edition of hospitality property school.
Today, I’m going to take a look at 8 great customer service stories.
These stories have come from a number of different sources including one of my own. I am going to share them just as I had seen them to ensure the facts are right.
- Auberge Gisele’s Inn
In my past life, I spent many years on the road as a tour director some of the largest tour operators in the world.
A number of years back, I was leading the tour group through New England and Eastern Canada. I have done a number of trips in the row and when I arrived at one of my most favourite destinations, Auberge Gisele’s Inn, Cape Breton Island, I was not feeling hundred percent.
The owner, Helen, saw immediately I was not up to par and told me to go lie down while the luggage was being delivered to the rooms. She then told me that I was not expected down for dinner but instead at 6 PM, the soup would be brought to my room. At 8 PM, there would be a light knock on the door and if I was awake a “Hot Toddy” (a warm whiskey) would be there for me. If not, they would know I was asleep and not disturb me. I slept for 12 hours.
The next morning I woke up feeling like $1 million.
My headache was gone, I was full of energy and I had my appetite back.
I have known Helen for many years and has seen her offer this type of service over and over without giving it a second thought.
To me, it meant the world.
Dina Yuen – Asian Fusion Girl
- Fairmont Hotels
How should we react when an entire hotel staff greets us by name (when not all of them have even met us face to face) with a smile and rushes to stand to the side to let us walk through first? Well, at Fairmont Hotels this kind of treatment is natural and normal to get used to it. At the Fairmont San Francisco, I was flabbergasted to find out that many of the staff members had been with the hotel for longer than I’ve been alive- that’s over 30 years! When the executive management team is on a friendly, first-name basis with every staff member all the way to waiters, busboys and housekeeping, you know they’re doing it right and that translates to an overall exceptional experience for guests.
At the Fairmont Singapore, staff members remember you by name and face upon your return after just one stay. It seems as if Fairmont has cornered the market on hiring people with photographic memory. Every single time I’m at a Fairmont, I am made to feel like royalty without any stuffiness or pretentiousness and that’s just priceless.
The next group of examples were compiled by Josiah Mackenzie
- Service Personalization with Facebook Feedback at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples asked Facebook fans how they like their coffee. If you answered, then stayed with them, your coffee would arrive perfectly sugared—without having to ask. It’s a little detail that can be used in other ways, as we see in our next example….
- Social Media Increases Loyalty at Accor
According to Nancy Trejos at USA Today, Accor Hotels tried something cool at its Sofitel and Novotel properties in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. – identifying loyalty members checking into the hotels that month and then checking (public) social media profiles to identify the guests’ interests. A gift was then selected to “Take guest recognition to the next level, to a more powerful level,” said Magali Jimenez Bervillé, director of e-commerce North America for Accor.
- For the guest who likes fine dining, an all-day behind-the-scenes tour of Tru in Chicago along with a night at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower.
- For the guest who likes fishing, an eco-friendly fishing trip in the San Diego Bay.
- For the guest who likes luxury cars, a certificate to drive a Ferrari and Lamborghini.
- For the guest who likes lounging in spas, a day at the Hela spa in Washington, D.C., plus an overnight stay at the Sofitel.
- And for the guest who likes sports, VIP tickets to a hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and the Red Wings.
- Sleep Menu at Conrad Chicago
A number of hotels offer pillow menus, but the Conrad Chicago takes this to another level, offering a full pillow menu, herbal sleep elixirs & nightcaps, ‘sleep chocolate,’ h20 hydrating treatments, thermal acqua masks, sleep sound machines – among other amenities.
They even created a separate website: ConradChicagoSleepMenu.com
- Concierge Videos from InterContinental Hotels
Back in 2007, InterContinental Hotels began creating videos featuring hotel concierges offering destination advice.
InterContinental has also tested providing concierge service through live video chat on Skype or Apple’s Facetime to provide a higher level of service through digital channels.
- Scavenger Hunt Contest at Palomar San Diego
Helping their guests explore the city of San Diego, the Palomar, a Kimpton Hotel, created a scavenger hunt that doubled as a social media contest. Participants used clues provided through the Scavenger Hunt with Friends mobile application, and then took and shared photos as they found the items.
“We think this is a perfect way for participants to have fun and experience the nooks and crannies of San Diego, while having a chance of winning some great prizes. We see it as a creative take on our ‘Live Like a Local’ programme, which provides guests with an authentic local San Diego experience,” said Mark Van Cooney, general manager of Hotel Palomar San Diego.
- Free Mountaintop Photos for Facebook at Vail Resorts
Every winter sports fan wants a photo on top of the mountain, and professional photographers have exploited this for years, charging exorbitant rates. Vail Resorts offered an alternative – taking mountain top photos that were free to post on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a powerful way to serve your guests – and increase your brand visibility at the same time.
As you can tell from these examples, you do not have to break the bank or hurt your back bending over backwards to fulfil some of the services. Common courtesy, common sense and the appreciation for a job well done will quite often be enough to put you ahead of your competition.
If you have any stories about great customer service and would like to share, and possibly get on the next list out or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section or visit our website
That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.
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