How a Tissue Box and a Pepper Shaker Rocked My World

By Roberta Nedry President and Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc. | December 14, 2014

Chilled champagne in a silver bucket, chocolate -covered strawberries, spectacular floral displays, elegant upgrades and décor, delicious chef creations, limousine luxury and red carpet treatment…each of these are extraordinary gestures and touchpoints in the world of hospitality. These examples are some of the ways in which hoteliers and their teams go above and beyond for guests to celebrate an exceptional moment or occasion. They are designed to create a special feeling, extra recognition, a moment of surprise and a sense of appreciation. They are “WOW” efforts that are usually recognized with WOW reactions. Though many of these moments are unexpected, these examples are the more ‘expected’ or traditional ways to demonstrate something extra special. They are the creative efforts, amenities and products designed to cause that intense or focused moment of pleasure.

So…when a hotel or hospitality organization takes a very common effort or ordinary part of their environment and does something EXTRA or UNCOMMON to address an ordinary expectation, it is like discovering treasure in the most delightful of ways.

During a recent stay at the Kimberly Hotel in New York City, a luxury boutique suite property in Midtown, I discovered that treasure in the most ordinary of settings.

On the Kimberly Hotel’s website, they note, “Our warm, inviting atmosphere, united with a sincere commitment to personalized service, sets a distinct standard …”

That distinct standard for me began with an exceptionally warm welcome from Chef Concierge, Peter Johnson, before I even arrived, as each email message he sent was with that sincere commitment noted above. Peter, a member of the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or organization, personalized my visit before I arrived with directions to each place I would need to go and approximate time estimates so I could plan my business days and logistics in advance. Peter took the simple, ordinary steps of information and directions and proactively personalized them to make my stay most effective before we had even met.

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Peter Johnson, Les Clefs d’Or Chef Concierge
The Kimberly Hotel

Though arriving mid evening and rushing to meet a colleague, greetings by the doorman, bell staff and front desk were genuine, authentic and responsive to my haste. Each ordinary step of walking through the doors, to checking in, to the warm European style of the elevators were proving to have that personalized level of service the hotel promoted in advance and supported in delivery. But the moment that really rocked my world in the most unexpected way was when I saw the tissue box and the wastebasket in the bathroom. They were BEAUTIFUL! They were designed with a vibrant and colorful floral motif that brightened the whole room and made this functional room feel special and like someone cared about each part of my stay. It was a place I expected to be efficient, nice and ordinary. Instead it was delightful, special and extraordinary. Most the time I move the tissue box out of the way or barely notice because it is built in to the furniture. I barely pay attention to the wastebasket in the bathroom other than to be annoyed that it is too small or in another room.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.