“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life.” – Steve Jobs
I stayed in an above-average, boutique-ish hotel this week. The directions to the car park were ambiguous, so before checking in I had to abandon the car, run into Reception, and ask how to find the car park. When I returned, having parked, to check in, I noticed that the receptionist didn’t ask me whether I had found the car park.
Then I noticed a plaque on the wall, behind Reception. It said: “2014 Award of Excellence. As honoured by our Guests. 8.2/10.”
It struck me that 8.2/10 – 82% – was not necessarily something to shout about; not really something to be deemed an “honour”. At the end of my stay, I reflected that:
- had the receptionist checked that I had found the car park;
- had she explained that the car park was new, and that they were waiting for signage to be delivered;
- had the hotel installed temporary signage;
- or had it amended its online directions to explain that the car park wasn’t signed;
- had the receptionist explained that the car park may be locked (as it was when I went to retrieve the car);
- had the Team member, dispatched by the same receptionist to unlock the car park, waited until I got there;
- and had the receptionist apologised for the fact that I had to walk back to Reception twice as a result;
then the hotel might have deserved more than 82%. As it was, I concluded that the score was about right.
And in conclusion, none of the considerable investment the hotel had made in fixtures, fittings, flowers, candles, and above all, its people, outweighed the mild disappointment and mild irritation of the car park issue. How little would have to change, then, to have been excellent, rather than just average.
As a footnote, I looked at the hotel’s entry on the leading booking website. Sure enough it was rated 8.2/10. And right below it, was an entry for another, local hotel: same specification, same price range. And rated 9/10.
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