Lessons from….. Holiday Inn

I had a meeting at the newly opened Holiday Inn Winchester this week, and felt compelled to share my experience; for once – in a good way!

I arrived on a cold grey morning to a bright, warm lobby, and a welcome to match.  The receptionist was attractive, well-presented and had a lovely big smile for me.  I told her I was expecting someone, and she invited me to take a seat, explaining that if I’d like to place an order, I only had to press the button on the table – what a great idea!  Then she added, “actually if you know what you’d like, I can run down with that order myself”.  I accepted, gratefully.

Then asked, “How does your wi-fi access work?”

“Oh, you get the first half an hour free of charge” she told me, and wrote down the access code on a card. That was good news; I had no need for browsing, but downloading my email would be helpful.

I sat down on a big and quite comfortable sofa, and within only three or four minutes, a very smartly dressed waitress arrived with a tray of hot drinks and little homemade-looking cookies.  She offered to take payment then, or later, as I preferred.

An hour later, when we were ready for more hot drinks, I pressed the table button, meaning we didn’t have to interrupt our meeting whilst we went to find someone.  The waitress appeared straight away, and again, our drinks came quickly and efficiently.

So, to recap: great smiley welcome, efficient drinks ordering process and free wi-fi – not exactly rocket science, is it?  After all, they are one of the world’s largest and most recognisable hotel chains!  The difference is, whilst I have visited probably a dozen or so Holiday Inns in the past, for business and pleasure, I have never felt the need to share my experience before, in a positive or negative way.  Now that companies no longer control what their customers are saying about them online, and let’s face it – customers like me can be very vocal – ensuring that every touch point they have with the company is a positive one, is absolutely vital. And that’s exactly what they did for me.

I was only in the Holiday Inn for around an hour and a half, but the impression I got from my visit was that of exceptional service, and I’ve already told several people, and written a positive blog post about my experience. Before I left, I checked out the Holiday Inn website and located their Twitter I.D. (@holidayinnwinch) so I can tell them, and share it with my followers.  I’m not sure what monetary value the company would place on my sharing this with my network, but it could potentially be worth many hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds to them in the long run.  Maybe thousands.  And all because a hotel receptionist greeted me with a lovely smile and a friendly welcome.

What’s your receptionist worth?

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