In today’s age of the internet and voicemail systems, I have been especially impressed by the power of the personal touch by a hotel or resort in advance of a trip, either for marketing purposes or to ensure a best possible resort experience.
About a month ago, before visiting two Mexican resorts, I was personally called by the concierges to see if I had any special requests or needs such as dietary requirements, pillows, transport, whatever. The calls were unexpected and very much appreciated. More recently, a GM friend told me he had to temporarily close his hotel for maintenance. He dealt with this complication by personally calling guests, who had already booked, to relay the news and offered to rebook them in a sister property where they would also receive a suite upgrade. The reaction? Totally positive. In another instance, the owner of Cheeca Lodge and Spa in the Florida Keys, which closed this year due to a fire last New Year’s, also personally called last year’s guests to announce the grand re-opening New Year’s 2010. This also received a terrific response.
The moral of these stories is to think twice when it comes to communication: becoming more efficient (as in email) may mean becoming less effective. This is more than a clever play on words; it’s an important issue that every business owner must address. This is especially so in the luxury industry, where we are trying to maintain value, quality and customer loyalty in the toughest of times.