A hotel that recognizes loyalty, and then some…

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.


InterContinental Bali

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.”


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.


InterContinental Bali

Comments

  1. Favorite place on earth?

    Pop-quiz: Intercontinental Bali or Intercontinental Berchtesgaden?

  2. I think you need to do a trip going to both, with the flight between them on Singapore F with your favorite crew.

  3. Sounds great. We’ll be there in 6 weeks. I’ll be sure to tell them I know you. That’ll probably get us into the Presidential Suite, no?

  4. And then, there are times when a place says, “Welcome back!” Except you haven’t been there before, or even to that country. Had this happen at an unnamed hotel lounge recently.

  5. Stayed here last September on my first trip to Bali,based on your previous reviews, and agree with your opinion. The people in Bali in general and at the Intercontinental Bali in particular, are warm, friendly,nice, and competent, and do everything they can to make you feel special and appreciated. As an aside, they brought out so much food at the club lounge in the evening, I was often too full to go for dinner.

  6. “Bali remains my favorite place on earth”. You need to pick among Bali, Hong Kong, and that place outside Munich.

  7. My wife and I were just in Bali back in March for our honeymoon. If you’re in Jimbaran, you should definitely go to Wah Burger Bar, Metis, and/or Sarong for dinner. You should also check out the Four Seasons Sayan, just amazing! I didn’t particularly care for the one in Jimbaran Bay.

  8. Your experience differ a bit from my own at this property. We stayed there during the ASEAN summit (as holiday makers, not attendees) and were denied a room upgrade of any sort, despite also being a Royal Ambassador. Despite that, I’d gladly return and the service was truly outstanding in every other way. Love the welcome drinks they gave too.

  9. Just have to put in another plug for the Conrad Suites. Stayed there in May (upgraded on a reward stay as a Diamond member) and loved it!

    I also completely agree with your assessment of the friendliness of the Balinese; the only culture that holds a candle to them are the Fijians.

  10. I totally agree! Bali’s one of my favorite destinations for the same reasons. I can’t wait to go back.

  11. I was just there 2 weeks ago, and while the service was fantastic, there was SO much mold in the bathroom and even on my balcony curtain. I asked to switch to another room, and they said they couldn’t accomodate that because the hotel was full. They came to clean it, but it took 3 different cleaning staff to get it all out. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed.

  12. “Pop-quiz: Intercontinental Bali or Intercontinental Berchtesgaden?”

    Yeah I was thinking something along those lines…wasn’t that place in Germany your new “favorite” place in the world? 😉

    I think it’s ok to have both as a favorite, since they are 2 very different types of locations and resorts…

  13. Just came back from Bali, thanks to old BA miles, and I have to say I think it is the Bailneesee people that go the extra mile, rather than a specific hotel policy. We stayed at the Bali Hyatt in Sanur, and found the staff in the Regency Club to be head and shoulders above any other hotel. They knew their regular guests by name, and treated them like family.
    Bali is my new favorite place now too.

  14. Have you noticed any difference in the club offerings over the years? Is it consistent or has it gone down since you started to visit the hotel frequently? Im trying to decide whether to stay at the conrad or IC.

  15. @ Ryan — The quality of the club lounge has gone way downhill from what it used to be. They used to have a 24 hour menu you could order off of (for free), so there was never a need to pay for food. Now they don’t have the complimentary menu anymore, so it’s an average club lounge at best now. Still worth it for the overall “experience,” in my opinion, as the drinks are good and the club rooms/pool are a bit nicer.

  16. Checked into the Marriott Philly at the Convention center on Thursday. Got a nice hello and “thanks for being a Plat member. Make that LIFETIME Plat. We have you on the concierge floor, but if you want a suite instead, we can do that just 4 floors down.”

    That was a first (the “lifetime” distinction).

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