Often we relate stories here on Grok about conversion missteps or persuasion challenges facing companies on- and off-line. Today, I’d like to relate a success story!
An Open Letter to Andrew Cosslett, CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group:
Dear Mr. Cosslett,
As a business traveler, my needs are simple and predictable: I just want some restful sleep, power outlets numbering more than one, and an internet connection that works. Now, in the last 90 days, I’ve spent more than a third of those nights in a hotel room, so I’m waaaayyyy too familiar with lumpy pillows, concave mattresses, and TV remotes where the previous guest felt entitled to liberate the “free” AA batteries inside.
On a recent trip out to the Googleplex in the San Francisco Bay area, I found myself searching about for a quality place to stay. The usual spots had no vacancies, so I chose one of your less commonly known properties, Staybridge Suites. (I happen to love staying at “suites” hotels; the visual separation of a living area from the sleeping area, and an actual kitchen, creates the feel of a condo that a human lives in rather than just a hotel room.)
I check in, no problems. It’s actually *half* the price of regular hotels in the area. I’m pleasantly greeted by staff and quickly finding my room. But once inside, I’m delighted to see this:
That’s right, a hand-written note from the general manager, Ms. Lisa DeLorean. Not a computer-written-in-handwriting-font note, but a real, live, ink-on-quality-stock note. I wasn’t even terribly concerned about the words themselves — the note’s pleasant enough — but this fine business manager took the time to write that note herself, and addressed to me personally, so I know it’s not just the boilerplate greetings that tells you the name of the cleaning staff.
It actually took me awhile to read the note, as most of the “wow” effect came from just receiving it! Of course, she thanks me for choosing her hotel, but she also thanks me for all the other visits I’ve made to the affiliated chain members (Crowne, InterContinental, etc., none of which I suspect factored into her bonus those past years), and then she finished with a bang [emphasis mine]: “We want you to be very satisfied with your stay.”
Not just satisfied, but very satisfied.
And I was. The place was indeed restful, power outlets everywhere and free internet. And, yes, fresh batteries in the remotes.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the stat that a dissatisfied customer tells, on average, 12 others about their bad experience. (Well, Lisa DeLorean, I just told 85,000+ GrokDotCom readers about you, your fine hotel, and the classy way you treat your customers. Keep up the good work!)
Mr. Cosslett, as CEO of Lisa’s parent company, if this handwriting of thank-you notes is corporate policy, congrats to you too! If Lisa did this on her own initiative, you just found your next regional manager. Cuz if you don’t, I’m sure another hotelier will snatch up talent like Lisa’s — and fast.
John Quarto-vonTivadar, delighted customer
P.S. — At the end of my stay, I tracked down Lisa DeLorean in the manager’s area and thanked her for the note. Curiously, she was taken by surprise, and expressed that no one’s ever thanked her before for writing these notes and (get this!) she was beginning to doubt if they made a difference. Chin up, Lisa, they most certainly do.
If any readers would like to stay at Lisa’s facility, here’s the 411: Lisa DeLorean, general manager, (650) 588-0770 — Staybridge Suites, at the San Francisco Airport, 1350 Huntington Ave, San Bruno, California
[Oh, and by the way, I have no financial interest in InterContinental Hotels Group or its affiliates, nor do I know Andrew Cosslett, and I never met Lisa DeLorean until the events related in this story.]