The answer: planning with care. Which is different than careful planning, but we’ll get to that.
With Father’s Day now behind us, I am going to start this article off by describing what my son had in store for me. And in case you are wondering why this isn’t a surprise, he told me in advance so I wouldn’t skip town on business. (For this instance, had he not told me in advance, I probably would’ve booked a flight out that Sunday night to New Orleans to catch the opening of HITEC which coincided with Father’s Day this year.)
My son and daughter know that during the mere weeks of summer warmth that we get here in Toronto I like to maximize my time outdoors – in other words, barbecued dinners savored on the backyard terrace. So they have planned out an assortment of marinated meats for the grill along with fresh salads and fruit.
Next, my son and I are both wine nuts. To sate my oenophilic hedonism, he has procured a rare single-varietal bottle of Tannat – an outstanding pairing for charred steak – as well as two esoteric icewines, the first a melon-dominant Kerner and the second a low-sugar blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, mourvedre and petit verdot. Coordinating with my daughter, the two of them have also purchased some wine accompaniments for the three different labels.
Lastly, my son knows that I am obsessed with my 130-pound dog named Hondo, who was named after the 1950s John Wayne Western. So, he bought that movie on Blu-Ray off Amazon.com and we plan to watch it after the sun has set and the mosquitos make the outdoors unbearable.
The takeaway for hoteliers is that my son and my daughter have deeply personalized the experience to show their utmost appreciation. Obviously, this degree of customization won’t be discernable for the average incoming guest, but with the way CRMs are growing it may soon be a reality.
In the meantime, what we can approximate for every guest and for every onsite event is to care for our guests as best we can. This differs from careful planning which is to ensure that the logistics are in place and that all minimum requirements from the hotel are meant. Planning with care takes this a step further insofar as the planner or associate in charge must go out of their way to make the experience as bespoke as possible.
In other words, you are not just meticulously organizing a customer’s itinerary or an event’s details because it’s your job; you are helping because you are passionate about the end result and the positive emotions your guests will feel. Moreover, planning with care makes you more agile to last minute setbacks and disruptions because the time you’ve taken to settle on one particular design means you’ve also put aside several others that are likely still available as backups.
Just as we care deeply about preparing the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas feast for our families, so too must we give our visitors a similar level of commitment and love. Just as my son has gone above and beyond in terms of meal preparation to make this Father’s Day spectacular, you too must do the same to make your guests’ feel special, whether it’s for a special occasion or just the perfunctory check-in.
(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, published in HotelsMag on June 17, 2016).