Bringing luxury alive

Bringing luxury alive

I flew to China this week to be a keynote speaker for a company on a variety of topics. One point of discussion was on how to create “spellbound guests.” It follows to tell you I have been staying at the new Sofitel Guangzhou and have fallen in love with the magic of hospitality once again.

First, I love China. The people are kind everywhere, but particularly gracious and generous beyond measure at this hotel. The hotel is, as they say, “magnifique” in every aspect, and the spa takes ritual and sensory indulgence to a new level. The actions of this team bring to mind one word that should be on everyone’s lips in hospitality: thoughtfulness. Yes, my room is gorgeous, but luxury without thoughtfulness is like a showroom — a designed space devoid of life. Thoughtfulness brings luxury alive. I will return to the United States not anticipating my own desires as quickly as the staff does here.

So here’s what you can take to the bank: In great part, luxury is an attitude. Perhaps you don’t offer a choice between tropical rain and marine waves in your guestroom showers, but what you can offer your guests is the feeling of luxury as defined by being acutely tuned in to what will make someone feel happy and cared for. 

Thoughtfulness — intended as an act of grace we bestow on a guest — is the crux of luxury, intimacy, personalization and loyalty.

Often I hear hotel companies coaching their teams to anticipate guest needs, but how often does leadership define that and demonstrate it (outside of VIPs)?  

  • Do you consider your leadership body thoughtful in terms of what they model for employees? (I don’t mean that we think about them, but that we think about what will inspire them to always be at their best.) 
  • What percentage of thoughtfulness is evident in interactions beyond satisfying requests and processes?  
  • Have you thought to create a metric that measures your organization on a scale of ordinary to extraordinary? It’s a new metric I created for my clients to measure distinction, and it is really fun to see the bar move on this one. 
In the spirit of being extraordinary (my raison d’être), luxury or not, a culture that keeps its focus on creating distinctions that make a difference must harvest them continually — and there are as many ways to harvest as there are gardens to grow.

Kudos to Sofitel Guanzhou — I felt the love. 

Speaking of spellbound guests, has anyone seen my wand? I’m late for my plane.