Posts Tagged ‘controlling’

Marriott and RitzCarlton: When Ordinary Tarnishes Luxury

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

During my most recent stay at the RitzCarlton in Naples, Florida, it had become obvious what happens when an average brand—Marriott, in this case— takes over and dominates a luxury brand like RitzCarlton. This time, there were no slippers in my suite—offered only by request. Shoes left out for the overnight shoe-polishing service weren’t returned in an elegant, cloth bag, but in a tacky,.plastic one. And even the piano player, who always performed afternoons in the lobby, had disappeared. The piano remained, abandoned. The building also was in need of renovation in some places. Some guests pointed out that they now had to ask that the shampoo, shower gel etc. be refilled or replaced; in the past, these amenities were replenished daily, regardless of how little had been used.

Ordinary does not comport with luxury. Too often, average brands attempt to seek their salvation in lowering prices—which also doesn’t lead to growth in the mainstream, but that’s a story for another time. But luxury is not “common sense.” Luxury lives on excess, on rational extravagance. Luxury yields high revenues, but it also carries costs that would bring tears to the eyes of a comptroller. And exorbitant prices are paid for all of this. When I pay high prices and receive average service, I feel made to look foolish, and I turn elsewhere.

Still, RitzCarlton has a brand bonus. We often give these strong brands, with which we have had good experiences, the benefit of the doubt. Marriott would do well not to let RitzCarlton slide into mediocrity or, more positively stated, to give the brand the latitude it needs in order to develop. Marriott management can play the little game of lowering costs in their own house.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

“I’ve Got a Camera”

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Recently in our narrow streets: A package delivery-service driver can’t make the uphill curve in one shot with his van, so he has to back down the hill. Meanwhile, a bicyclist emerges behind the vehicle, the two coming dangerously close to one another. Only a couple of inches separate them. The driver drives forward again, and then back, annoying the cyclist. On my way downhill in my car, I honk to signal the driver of the van that something isn’t right. Coming to a stop opposite one another, we both lower our windows. The following dialog transpired:

  • Me: “There was a bicyclist dangerously close to the back of your van.”
  • He: “I know. I’ve got a camera.”
  • Me: “Still, that was dangerously tight.”
  • He: “I’ve got a caaa-mmerr-raa back there!”
  • Me: “Didn’t help much.” It was pointless; I drove off. In the end, things turned out OK.

Despite the back-up camera, the driver barely escaped a collision with the cyclist—or the other way around. Having the tool was not enough. But how often do we use tools that others aren’t familiar with? How often do we use the wrong tools—or the right ones incorrectly?

Lessons for everyday life:

  • Don’t rely on your tools alone.
  • Don’t assume that others know that you know what you’re doing.
  • Use the right tool. A back-up beeper would have been of significantly more use to the cyclist. Namely, he would have know when he should or shouldn’t be behind the vehicle.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.