Updated: Apr 20, 2022
I recently traveled to Traverse City for the week to work in our Talon office. I reserved a room at the Sugar Beach Resort for 3 nights. Although it was April, and in Michigan we all know what that means, I was looking forward to the great view from my room. It was going to be the experience I needed to refresh from the long winter. But what made my experience so amazing wasn't the view.
It was a seemingly insignificant effort, yet one with powerful results, made by the staff at the resort that convinced me that I will always stay at this resort when I visit.
FROM THE MINUTE I ENTERED MY ROOM I FELT APPRECIATED
As soon as I entered my room, I received a text alert. It didn't mean anything to me as I get dozens of them a day from teammates at our 24 offices when I am traveling. Being after hours, I wasn't in a rush to read it as I wanted to unpack and settle in after the long day. When I finally reviewed my text, it was from an unknown number so I anticipated another spam text. To my surprise it was the resort.
“Good evening, Mr. Grashaw. This is the front desk of the Sugar Beach Resort, just checking to make sure that your stay is off to a great start. How is everything with your room? -Melissa”
Surprised, but also leery that I was now communicating with a bot, I couldn't help but feel impressed. Not with the the fact that this resort had cutting edge NASA quality technology as most businesses have this ability with the simplest of tools. I was impressed with the fact that they took the time to use it. I was surprised that even with my knowledge of marketing and customer relationship building experience, how easily I was sucked into the interaction. In fact, I first thought how I could keep this conversation going in a way that made it funny enough to go viral on social media. But I quickly abandoned that as I preach about customer relationship efforts daily, and I didn't want to waste this individuals time after making such an effort. But playing it out in my head, this could have been really funny - or at least in my nerdy head.
“We hope you are enjoying your stay! Is there anything that you need? Please rate your experience so far by replying with a 1-5 (5 being great). Thanks - Liz”
So at this point I was pretty sure it was not a bot, and that it was actually someone in the hotel office. This was confirmed by the fact that when I went to the lobby to drop off my selection for the next days breakfast (oh yea, they delivered breakfast to the room every morning) the employee behind the desk said, "Good morning Kurt. Thanks for bringing your menu down. Have a great day." I found out later that this employee was Liz. I also met Melissa. This attention continued for the entire duration of my stay.
I promote this relationship building every day with my teams. It was amazing to see it in action - making me feel comfortable enough to start conversations with them when I was in the lobby. I found out aspects about them and they found out aspects about me. The beautiful thing about this entire experience is that I felt like I made 2 new friends and will want to see them again when I return to Traverse City - confirmation of this experience I promote among our offices. It was a small gesture that made a big difference. I travel a lot and it isn't always exciting to be in a hotel, and it usually means longer days without the comfort of my home, or my buddy, Drako. (He was a rescue and I didn't name him.) So this small gesture helped me feel like I was in a familiar place even though I was not.
So Friday arrived, and after eating the breakfast that was delivered to my room, I checked out and headed to our office. The check out was as easy as leaving the keys in the room and texting Melissa that I was departing. I received my final texts:
"Kurt, it's been a pleasure having you as our guest. Next time you are visiting Traverse City, would you choose to stay with us again? Please reply with a Y or N." - Melissa
"Y. Thanks for an amazing experience. Will definitely recommend."
"Wonderful! Safe travels and Happy Easter. We look forward to seeing you again soon. " - Melissa
Yes they will. Yes they will.