29 Oct

I think I could be a Ritz-Carlton person

My husband I took a grown-up trip not that long ago. He had a milestone birthday, and friends were celebrating their fourth “babymoon,” so we opted for a long weekend sans kids. Our travel agent suggested the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall in Jamaica. Lo and behold, they were running a deal even we could swing, so we thought, why not?

I love, love, love swanky hotels. This was my first foray into the world of Ritz-Carlton though. In what was surely a mistake, we were upgraded to a suite that was roughly the size of my first apartment, and included two bedrooms, two ocean view balconies and a doorbell. “Don’t leave!” I hissed to my husband. “They’ll figure out we’re in here and evict us!”


We spent the next four days in a blissed-out haze. This. Is. The. Life. We repeatedly told ourselves.

Ritz-Carlton service is legendary, and it struck me from a marketer’s perspective. I worked for several large hospitals in the past, and customer service was always a sticky wicket. In an organization that ran with hundreds of employees 24/7, there were lots of outstanding people, but always a few stinkers.

I marveled at what it must take to create a culture of service where every person we came into contact with during our stay greeted us warmly and said things like “How is your day going today? Can I get you something?” “Welcome back to the beach, would you like a chair in the shade again?” “It was a pleasure having you here with us. Have a safe journey home.”

The other thing that struck me was how the brand felt like a living, breathing thing. They weren’t just sitting back on Ritz-Carlton laurels. The collateral pieces in our room were lushly photographed, on beautiful paper. The linens in the dining room were from Frette (and I only know that’s fancy because I’ve heard of celebrities using Frette linens). The grounds were spotless, and the furnishings were immaculate.  http://www.frette.com/

Are you living and breathing your brand? It’s not enough just to say you’re hip, or service-oriented, or state-of-the-art. You have to breathe life into those words and values, translating them into a sensory experience for your customers. Otherwise, you have no brand.