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Life can be full of (pleasant) surprises - When things go RIGHT in Hospitality

publication date: Jul 24, 2011
author/source: Terence Ronson ISHC

Life can be full of (pleasant) surprises 

The Hotel business never ceases to amaze me - especially when a property sets their mind and hearts into doing it right - instilling a great service culture into the operation. And no more obvious and pleasing is this, than when you encounter staff delivering service beyond ones normal expectations.

I hope you read an earlier BLOG of mine, when I wrote about the great Disney Institute course I attended (Delivering Quality Service), and how their philosophy is to create a series of little WOWs, rather than just one big one - impressing their customers at different touch-points during exposure to the brand. How obviously simple and important I thought that was at the time, and wished the businesswould pick up and follow this great, yet modest philosophy.

Well let me tell you how delighted I was to experience such a Hotel when I recently stayed three nights at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS), Singapore, as part of my participation in the HICAP Conference (4-5 May).
I must preface this by saying - they knew I was coming - so it was not an entirely incognito stay - having said that, I really don't think, from a practicality point of view, that they went to the extent of circulating my photo and briefing every employee about me - unlike a certain Shanghai Hotel did on a re-visit. After all, MBS has 2,561 rooms and a suitably sized team to support this. 

Yes, I got upgraded to a Suite complete with a spectacular City view, in addition to which it had many of the accouterments I have come to look for and enjoy like Bananas in the fruit basket, bottles of mineral water and a Nespresso machine. Thanks! But more importantly, it had a few extra niceties that I want to point out.
Firstly, the hairdryer was easy to find - it was attached to the wall next to the double vanity and not hidden like one often finds, and has to be hunted for. This is a pet peeve of my wife - who has been known to say to me on the rare occasions when we travel together on a trip, "I wonder where they have hidden the hairdryer this time?" There was a big shower cubicle - one in which I could easily spread my arms and turn around in - stepping out of the water spray to soap up, and then back into to rinse off. And, in one corner, an alcove with a built-in seat to either sit on, or lift ones leg/foot for ease of cleaning. But, the crème de la crème were the shower amenities where one could easily read the description of the contents without putting on ones glasses. GREAT!

Each day the room (OK Suite) was serviced, with the Room Attendant kindly and caringly taking time out to tidy up the wires/cables I left on the desk - neatly coiling them into little bundles. These were my iPod cable and the cable of the power adapter to my Notebook. Very Good!  
I should also mention that the TV stayed on BBC when switched back on, rather than going again and again to the Hotels' promo splash page of their IPTV system. I know why we do that, but honestly, it can be annoying.

Then there was the fact that my Bathroom toiletries were also tidied up - placed in straight rows, and in descending height order - big at the back, and small at the front. And running perpendicular, was my razor. Nice!

Photo Slideshow can be found here

Each evening at turn down, there was a different "turndown goodie" including Macaroons, local cakes and sweets, and some delicate chocolate cups filled with fresh fruits and berries. I had to exercise very strong willpower to avoid nibbling them all.

Outside of the room, I tried the Breakfast Buffet at the Roof Top Club Lounge - which if you have seen or know of the MBS is their pièce de résistance - complete with an infinity pool perched on top of the building spanning all three towers. Very good standard breakfast fare supplemented with many goodies to include Gravlax, assorted fresh berries, lots of fruits and nuts, and some very interesting jams and compotes.

Overall, I must say that the Staff were friendly and helpful with a few requiring a special mention:
Firstly there was Sebastian my Butler who upon coming to my room for collecting the luggage said, "Mr. Ronson I note you are returning on the xxth and can you please let me know your arrival time so I can make sure everything is ready for you." No one told him I was coming back - he had used initiative and flagged that himself.

Next was Andrew a Bellman from the Guest Services Dept. He saw me queuing up to check out - came over - made a small bow - and out of the blue offered his services with my luggage and a car to the airport (my luggage was in storage). I said thanks, but I was organized for these - and he proceeded to give me his name card offering any assistance I may need - and to just call him.

Lastly, there was Indah the Front Office Clerk - I believe that was her name - who firstly apologized for keeping me waiting to check-out (not so long maybe 5 minutes), and upon noticing I had dined at one of the restaurants in the adjacent Mall - Osteria Mozza, inquired as to whether I had enjoyed the meal. She said she had heard about the place and i think seen it on TV, but not yet had the chance to visit and was curious how it was. She sounded genuine (rather than mechanical) in asking if I enjoyed my Hotel stay - and too also noticed I was shortly to return -  saying she looks forward to welcoming me back.
In life, it's definitely the small things that count!

Photo Slideshow can be found here
 (C) Terence Ronson ISHC 

The direct link to the site with all the photos and details is



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