Look who got all personal with me in my Hotel room.

Courtyard BroadwayI found myself at the most impersonal of all places a few weeks ago . . . an airport hotel.  It was a Courtyard Marriott, which prides itself on being a cookie cutter duplicate of all the other Courtyards . . . simple, clean, and mostly without character.

Except for one thing.

This Courtyard, in West Palm Beach, had a very smart cookie in charge.

Take a look at the photo in this blog.  That’s a little laminated welcome letter.  Go on, click on it to make it bigger.  If you can’t read it, it includes phrases like, “. . . make your stay a perfect one,” and “I am directly responsible for the room . . . ” and ” . . . take pride in its presentations,” and my favorite, ” . . . exceed your expectations.”

And at the end of the letter it wasn’t signed, “The Staff of the Courtyard,” or even, “Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriot.”

It was signed, “Rebecca S. Gabriel, General Manager,” and it gave her direct dial number.

What I loved about the letter was that it assigned a name . . . a name and a person that was within walking and calling distance of my room.  It was someone just a phone call away who cared about what I was about to experience at their establishment.

Rebecca S. Gabriel got personal.  And that reach out meant a lot.

A lot of regional theaters have welcome messages from Artistic Directors and Managing Directors, which I’ve always loved (of course, their strategy is laced with the desire to seek donations).  But why don’t Broadway theaters and Off Broadway theaters have welcome messages from the Producers of the shows on their stages. . . or why not a welcome message from the theater owners themselves?  Wouldn’t it be cool and interesting to see a note from Jimmy Nederlander welcoming you to one of his theaters?  Or one from the Shuberts?  (I know I’ll be having one at our new theater!)

Theaters, like a lot of airport hotels, aren’t the most comfortable places on earth.  So adding a little personality to them can go a long way.  Because when a company gets personal, a consumer feels more taken care of.  And when a consumer feels taken care of . . . they want to come back and back again.

This blog was written from another Courtyard Marriott in another city.


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  • David Carter says:

    On two recent visits to the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort in Lincolnshire Illinois I was pleasantly surprised to receive a hand written thank you note slid under my door overnight. The first one had been written by the manager on duty. The second had been written by the front desk clerk that checked me in and included two vouchers for use at their Starbucks outlet. To this day, the Lincolnshire Resort is the only hotel that has done this and I love them for it. BTW, the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort is home to the Marriott Theatre, a very successful LORT musical theatre outside of Chicago which is my reason for staying there.

  • Bob says:

    I agree that a personal touch can be very meaningful. But it has to be sincere, not a marketing gimmick. A letter from a theatre owner or producer who then expects me to be cramped into a horrible theatre seat for a few hours is just a marketing gimmick to me. But if I have a comfortable seat with room for my winter coat and am not bothered by the people next to me or behind me unavoidably infringing on my space, I’d believe you really care about my theatre experience. Then I’d welcome a letter telling me how much my presence is valued. Same theme as the corporate apologies for bad behavior that Andrew Ross Sorkin has been writing about in the NY Times — are you saying it just to look like you care or are you backing up the words with action? Action is needed to prove the sincerity of the words.

  • Alex Bishop says:

    I was lucky enough to go to a pre-show party for the first preview of A Time to Kill. Eva Price gave a little speech right before everyone left for the show and I loved it! She made me so excited to see the show and I loved hearing about their journey. Adding a personal touch in theater really goes a long way.

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