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Gosh Guys, It's the Little Things...Part 2

Last week, I started this series talking about my recent good-but-not-great travel experiences. If you missed part 1, catch it here.

Woman_at_computer After Boston, I headed to Chicago and I stayed at the Hotel Monaco (part of the Kimpton boutique hotel chain). I was going to stay at the Renaissance, but I wanted a different experience of Chicago, as I had stayed at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown back in March when I spoke at a Hearst Magazine conference. Again, I opted for the true boutique feel and I was only a block and a half from the Renaissance. Score.

When I called to make reservations, I was told that if I was part of their InTouch program, I would be able to get a discounted rate. I quickly signed up online. Score.

I had several back-to-back business calls as soon as I arrived and then I was scheduled to have a meeting with our new biz dev guy (fingers crossed!) so I rushed from O'Hare to the hotel. I arrived during the hotel's wine tasting hour so I was served a chilled glass of Sauvignon while I checked in. Super score.

In my InTouch profile, asked to be away from noise, away from the elevator and on a high floor. Although I had a view of a brick wall - literally - they hit 3 out of 3 because I mentioned nothing about a view. Score - sort of.

The room was spacious and had two closets. Double score.

But, what happened 15 minutes after I arrived in my room was what made me a Kimpton Hotel convert...

l bAfter I got into the room and got settled, the phone rang. It was Gwen at the front desk asking me if the room was to my liking and if I needed anything. What?? Amazing! What hotel does this?! On average, I travel at least one and a half weeks out of the month and this has never happend to me.

Then 10 minutes later, someone from guest services knocked at the door and gave me a hand-written card along with a bar of green-tea infused dark chocolate. Chocolate and wine! Whoa!

My stay was quite pleasant - and, as per my request, very quiet. When I returned home, I received an email from the folks at Kimpton asking for my feedback about my stay. Of course, there's always room for improvement so here's what I told them...

1) I'm all for a soft cozy bed, but this bed was TOO soft. I felt as if it would swallow me whole and as a result I was trying to find a firm spot on the bed all night. Not good when you have back-to-back workshops to lead the next morning.

2) Because some of the decor choices are darker colors (carpet, window treatments, headboard, furniture), the room was a bit dark. Couple that with the fact that there was no overhead lighting in the main part of the room - only three task lights in each corner - it felt a bit like a cave.

3) Near the desk, there was only one available outlet (the desk lamp was using the other outlet) UNDERNEATH the desk. Which meant that unless you were a yogi, you had to crawl under the desk and plug your laptop in. Not exactly kind to your back after a 3 hour flight.

4) There was no ball-slide lock on the door. there was only the bottom lock and that didn't make me feel too secure as a woman traveling alone. So, I set up the ironing board in front of the door and that was the only way I felt relaxed enough to really go to sleep.

5) It's true what feng shui experts say about mirrors in front of the bed being a no-no. There was a HUGE, round (albeit very tasteful) mirror on the wall in front of my bed. I just could not sleep all night and actually woke up 3 minutes before my alarm went off. This combined with the too-soft bed was a challenging combo.

The following day after I completed their feedback form, Nicholas Welker, the hotel's Assistant General Manager emailed me and thanked me for my stay with them, for my detailed feedback, apologized for the small inconveniences and let me in on the hotel's plans to open two hotels in Miami (my other home)! Yeah!

Can you see how this differs from my experience with the Renaissance Boston? It's the little things.

Bottomline: If you truly and deeply care about your customers, they'll blog care about you.


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Lena L. West


Thanks for this comment!

Yes, word of mouth is EVERYTHING. Companies are starting to realize more and more that no one cares what you have to say about yourself. People want to know what others have to say about you.

Shell Smith

I love that you just blogged about your travel - good and bad experieces - and that now I want to stay at Hotel Kimpton - and never again at the Renaissance. The reason I love it is because I JUST watched this interview between Fox and the president of a customer service company called Mindshare. In this interview they talk about the power of word of mouth marketing - and the influence of the internet. Pretty interesting!

Lena L. West


You're more than welcome. I LOVE the term "mini series" :) It conjures up memories of episodes of Knots Landing.

I think it's always nice when we hear good stories to help keep hope alive that good service can still be delivered.

Thanks for reading and commenting!


Ardith Lowell

Hi Lena,

Thanks for your mini-series on this topic, and for the reassurance that there are companies in the travel world that do care about their customers. And as always, it's a pleasure to read your blog entries.

Regards and appreciation to Yvonne as well.


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