Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

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.

“Bomb Threat? Follow These Instructions.”

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Recently as I checked in with JetBlue Airways in West Palm Beach, Florida to fly back to New York, instructions on the employee’s desk attracted my attention as she busied herself with my ticket. They were printed on blue paper, laminated to the desk top. The content was approximately as follows:

Affix these instructions near your telephone.

“Bomb Threat?
Ask the caller the following questions:

  • Where is the bomb?
  • When is it set to explode.
  • Under what circumstances will it explode.
  • What does the bomb look like?
  • What is it made of?
  • Did you build the bomb?
  • Why?
  • What is your address? Where are you at the moment?

Let’s assume that these questions were not pulled together by amateurs, but by professionals who know what they are doing – since in the end, air travel is a realm that is sensitive to security. What do we see here? At least the last three are not immediately obvious. They serve either to keep the caller on the line, to keep him talking, or there really are instances in which these questions are answered correctly.

Teaching moment: Sometimes there are questions that aren’t obvious, questions that must be asked in order to reach a goal

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

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: Remember

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Your focus for today: Remember the essential things, and demand that your company remember them, too.
In February, I was once again on a business trip to Naples, Florida. When I’m there, I try at some point to have dinner at Cafe Lurcat. It’s not just that the food is superb, so is the service. Tops: John, the waiter. We first met him five years ago. Unique in his profession.
This year, when six of us entered the restaurant, John remembered, unprompted: “How good to see you again.” When we asked whether he really remembered, he said: “But of course I remember you. You sat right over there.” He pointed to the exact table where we sat on that occasion, but which he no longer served. “And one time you sat in the private dining room back there where I couldn’t serve you because that’s a colleague’s section.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. John remembered an event that happened five years ago. We had not been particularly conspicuous, if that’s what you’re thinking. Once again on this evening, John cheerfully did an exceptional job.
In what ways are you like John? What do you do to remind good customers of occasions that you have experienced with them, to remind them of the important things. What do you do in this vein to show your customers that you value them? How far back does your personal memory go? Your company’s?
Give this some thought this week, perhaps during a group lunch with your team.

© 2013, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.