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Recently I attended a homeowners’ association meeting at our Arizona resort. One of the homeowners had heard about my HOTELS blog post “Fostering guest loyalty” and wanted to share his experience and how it had shaped his choices.

He had been a long-time repeat guest of ours and was impressed with the recognition he received each time he came back. He said he felt at home with us, and that’s what sealed the deal for him to buy a house at the resort. Just prior to his purchase, he had not visited for some time. When he eventually returned he was immediately welcomed with a hug from a staff member who exclaimed how excited she was to see him back. He started looking at our residential real estate that day.

This same homeowner also shared a story about how the Four Seasons Toronto won him over. He frequently visited Toronto on business, and when the hotel where he normally stayed was sold out, he booked a room at the Four Seasons, where he  hadn’t stayed in a few years. Upon check-in, the desk clerk said, “Mr. Smith, you haven’t’ stayed with us for a while, welcome back! I have a nice upgrade to a suite that I hope you will enjoy.”

When the bellman brought his luggage to the room, the bellman said, “We missed you Mr. Smith, welcome back!” He said the kicker was when he ordered room service and the person who answered the phone said, “Mr. Smith, we missed you, welcome back! What may I get for you this evening?”

Because of that simple gesture of recognition, he is now a loyal Four Seasons Toronto guest, and all it took was 30 minutes and three cheerful team members.