Simple act, big impact

We often hear that it’s the little things in life that make it worth while. It could also be said that the little things people do in the service industry can make our experience worth while. This could not have been more true about my recent visit to the Hotel Palomar in Arlington, VA.

Now, if it had just been this one small act, I would still be raving about this property because it was so overwhelmingly surprising and appreciated that I can’t stop talking about it. They did other things well, but this one thing they did really set the tone for a great stay.

What could I possibly be talking about?

Upon entering the room for the first time, I dropped my bags and immediately looked for the ice bucket. I was thirsty, and wanted to go get some ice before I settled in.  I saw a smart looking, stainless steel ice vessel (it was too nice to be called a “bucket”) sitting on the desk, and I approached. What I saw stopped me in my tracks.  It was already full of ice.  Joy.

I was speechless. I stood motionless for a moment, pondering the wonder of what I was seeing. It was if they knew exactly what I wanted, and they delivered it!

Is filling an ice bucket difficult or time consuming?  No.  Is it some huge, headline-worthy act that will distinguish the Hotel Palomar as the world leader in hotel management?  Probably not.  But, did it surprise me, delight me, and make me want to talk about their property?  You bet!!

I wonder how many opportunities like this we each have (and possibly miss) in our own businesses?  Sometimes I think we need to get out of our way and just think about what would make us happy when we travel, go to a park, etc.  It’s probably just small things that reduce hassle or bring us a little joy.

As I stated earlier, this was not the only incident that made an impression.  During my stay, the toilet handle broke.  It got fixed.  If that were they end of the story, I wouldn’t be typing right now.  A few days after I got home I received an email survey about my stay.  Still on cloud 9 regarding the ice bucket, I really wanted to let them know what a great stay I had.  I also mentioned the toilet handle and how quickly it was fixed.  Less than 24 hours later, I received a short, personal email from the hotel manager stating he was sorry about the toilet handle and was glad that it was fixed quickly.  Much like standing speechless in front of the ice bucket, I was amazed to receive this note – a personal note – about my specific situation. I know this dude must be busy… that showed a great deal of care for his customers.

If he shows half that concern for his employees, there will be a lot of full ice buckets in his hotel for years to come.

Thanks for reading!

A few (powerful) insights from Seth Godin

Seth Godin shares some great insights about leadership. I especially appreciated his thoughts around firing your bad customers.  Enjoy!

(For more from Seth and others, check out the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast happening May 6.)

<p><a href=”″>Exclusive interview with Seth Godin</a> from <a href=””>GiANT Impact</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>