With loyalty programs providing so much valuable data for guests’ stay patterns, it amazes me that many hotels don’t do to more capitalize on this. For example, it’s always a bit disappointing to check-in to a hotel where you’re a regular and be asked “have you stayed with us before?” If they’d just look at their computer they’d see I’ve stayed there 20+ times before (often happens at a hotel I frequent). Conversely, I’m always impressed when I check-in to a hotel and get a “welcome back, Mr. Lucky” from an associate I’ve never interacted with before. It’s not rocket science, but it shows a tiny bit of effort on their part, and at the end of the day isn’t that what hospitality is about?
This brings me to the InterContinental Bali, where I’m staying at the moment. I’m a huge fan of this property (you can find a previous review here), especially when booking a club room, given that it’s like a resort within a resort.
As a club guest a complimentary airport transfer is included, so I was picked up as usual. However, what really impressed me was the treatment I received once I pulled up to the hotel.
The butler assigned to my room walked me to the club lounge for check-in, and on the way said “Mr. Lucky, welcome back to the InterContinental, and thanks so much for your loyalty to our hotel and InterContinental hotels worldwide, we appreciate your Royal Ambassador status.” Wow, totally didn’t see that coming, especially since I’ve only stayed here three times.
At the club lounge I was welcomed by the club manager, Dewey, who (apparently) remembered me and said “welcome home, Mr. Lucky, it’s so nice to see you again.” She also thanked me for being a Royal Ambassador member and my loyalty to both the hotel and the chain.
At that point a third person came by to offer me a welcome drink, and also said “welcome back.”
The club manager came back and explained that while the standard upgrade would be to a duplex suite, the hotel was very full and none were available, so “because of your loyalty we’ve upgraded you to a Jimbaran Suite.”
The following day the butler came by my room to refill the minibar, and I said “oh, no need, I didn’t consume anything.” He was absolutely shocked and said “but you’re a Royal Ambassador, you didn’t have anything? Is everything okay?”
Not consuming anything from the minibar? I think I’m officially a bad Royal Ambassador member (for those of you not familiar with the program, one of the benefits is complimentary drinks from the minibar)…
Anyway, while this is an extreme case of recognizing loyalty, I think it’s the little touches that make the difference with a hotel stay, especially for repeat guests. It doesn’t have to be them fawning over status, but a “welcome back” or “welcome home” message if you’re an especially frequent guest or loyal to the hotel chain really does go a long way, in my opinion.
And on a slightly unrelated note, Bali remains my favorite place on earth. It’s not that the beaches are the most impressive in the world or the sights are unlike anywhere else, but there’s some peaceful spirit to the place I haven’t found anywhere else in the world. Oh, and the Balinese people and hands down the friendliest, most hospitable people I’ve come in contact with anywhere.