Conversation with … a guest

Conversation with ? a guest

We are just finishing up a refresh of our guestrooms and lobby. The lobby work is going on all day and involves mostly repainting, new moldings, re-facing of the desk, new lighting and furniture. 

All the necessary steps were taken to communicate to our guests, from “pardon our appearance” signs and arming our team with talking points to displaying large renderings of the finished lobby. Most of our guests are business travelers — a very resilient group — and, quite frankly, I’m not sure that some of them even noticed the work going on around them.  

One guest was an exception: A member of my staff told him that they were encouraging guests to look at the work as “living art” on loan from MoMA. The workers were instructed to go about their business, not make any eye contact with the guests and try to act as if they were working in a vacant lobby. This guest loved it, and actually stood in the lobby for more than 30 minutes just staring at the men working. 

What a great way to take what could be perceived as an inconvenience to guests and turn it into something fun. Now, rather than apologizing for the work, my entire staff is telling guests about our living art exhibit. Some just laugh and go about their business in New York. Others actually believe that it might be “living art” (how great it would be to see a TripAdvisor post that complimented the hotel on our living art exhibit).

Every day in this business is like watching living art. Let’s make sure we continue to have fun instead of always doing things the old-fashioned way.