This post is a cacophony of observations each of which did not warrant an individual posting. As such, I determined an aggregation of these musings could be worthwhile.
1. I find it a bit insulting that every hotel prints the word “Spa” onto every complimentary (see note below) toiletry item.
Contrary to the hotel’s best intentions, using the shampoo bottle emblazoned with “Spa” does not magically transport me to the Shangri-La Spa in Dubai where after an 18 hours massage and cleansing treatment I might head over to Ski Dubai and enjoy a relaxing slalom down the slopes to the St. Mortiz Cafe. Unfortunately, I remain with a bottle of shampoo that for some reason smells like peppermint in a shower with a curtain that will not reach to both ends simultaneously.
2. Nothing is complimentary (see note above). The bottle of water placed in my room with the large red tag reading “Complimentary for our Platinum Double Diamond Passport Club Members” is not free (Note that I only stayed at your hotel twice to become a Platinum Double Diamond Passport Club Member which would indicate its a club that is not very exclusive). This is a basic economic fact. As a business you have certainly built the price of the “complimentary” bottle of water into the room rates. You would not diminish your margins for me, nor should you. I prefer to have the bottle of water in my room instead of having to walk down the hall to the dimly lit “convenience center” with a vending machine in which I must insert $1.38 for the bottle of water. It is rare that I carry a $1.38 in exact change. I accept it’s built into my room rate. Let’s just remove the pretense, i.e. complimentary.
3. People will pay for customer service even on the most basic goods and services. Point in case: Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is in the fast food business. They drive profitability through volume and they do it very well. It is rare that you enter a Chick-fil-A when it is not packed. It is equally rare that you are not immediately greeted and your order placed within a minute of stepping in line. Oh, and you can understand what the employee behind the cash register is saying to you. They are probably even smiling at you. To the extent you dine in the restaurant chances are someone will come by and ask you if you need a refill.
All Other Fast Food Brands
Compare that to the experience I recently had at Arby’s at 10:30 PM a few weeks ago. The only reason I went here was Chick-fil-A was closed. There was one car in front of me in the drive through. I waited 3 minutes until I was able to advance to the ham radio from 1923 that was utilized as the drive through. I waited 1 minute before I was addressed by the employee, which was unintelligible at best. I placed my order only to have the employee respond “Please hold for a minute”. Two minutes later the employee magically begins to communicate and asks me to repeat my order. Finally I am instructed to pull around to the window and to my surprise (insert sarcasm here) there are two cars ahead of me. I proceed to wait for eight minutes until I can come to the window. With little, to no, pleasantries exchanged, and certainly no eye contact, the employee shoved my food out the window.
An average meal at Chick-fil-A runs you $6.50 or about $1.50 more than what you could eat at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc. That is 30% more but you, if you are like me, do not even notice the difference in price because the value of the total dining experience you receive is nowhere near comparable. When you offer customer service you differentiate your brand and now you don’t compete solely as a commodity. You are selling a commodity with customer service.
4. What makes Europe different than America? It’s the little things.
Drinks come in obnoxiously smaller sizes. While I like to think of myself as “efficently sized” I need 3 containers of any beverage to quench my thirst. (Note: I do not use or wear a Bluetooth headset. It was merely used as a prop.)
The toilet has multiple buttons which always leaves me thinking which I should push and unfortunately you have to stay and watch to see the outcome of your choice. My general instinct is no sane individual enjoys that spectacle.
There is zero appreciation for ice. When you ask for ice you receive two cubes.
Oh and the tray from which those two were plucked are riding around in a cart in open air. That way when you pour your beverage, which inevitably will be somewhere above room temperature, the ice immediately disappears to ensure you drink is now flat.