I have travelled to different countries and cities in my life time. I have dined and stayed in affluent hotels and also at less than glamourous ones.
When I have returned to the same city I have sometimes found myself opting for the less popular hotels. Often, I am asked why I have chosen the cheaper option bearing in mind that I don’t always pay for my accommodation.
My answer is simple. Customer service of the lodge or hotel. The question that follows is: What can a no- star hotel offer that a five- star hotel doesn`t? In this article I share my response.
1) There is nothing like arriving at a hotel and then getting welcomed by pleasant people who are genuinely happy to see you again. They don’t call you Sir or some generic title. Instead they call you by name.
2) Every single hotel staff knows the services provided by the hotel. You ask the cleaning lady for the wi-fi password she knows it by heart. Ask the gentleman at the reception what`s on the menu, not only is he able to articulate what`s on it to you, but he also knows how it is prepared. Every member of staff seems ready to help regardless of the task before them.
I stayed at a hotel in rural Uganda for 2 nights in a place best described as `back of beyond’. The team I was with arrived from a wet and muddy place and so our shoes were covered with mud. The entire hotel staff came to welcome us. I mean the front office desk lady, the waiters and waitresses, the chef and her team and the hotel proprietor as well! Each of them took a pair of the muddy shoes cleaned them thoroughly to the point of polishing them each in their appropriate colours! The whole process including taking us to our rooms and checking us in worked like clockwork. Amazing for a hotel in the middle of nowhere.
3) The food at no star hotels is often very basic. But the good ones know how to make a basic meal memorable. At a hotel in Rwanda I asked the manager how they managed to have such tasty food. His answer was telling. With so many good hotels around the town, they decided to be exceptional at one thing whilst attracting clientele at an affordable price. And of course, they decided it would be the meals they prepared.
4) The services the hotels offer are delivered within the time they say it will be. If they say the laundry will be ready in two hours it comes no later. If they say meals are served in 10 minutes you don’t wait a minute longer.
There are other things that have impressed me by these seemingly ‘unimpressive’ hotels, eg the emphasis on cleanliness and the honesty of the staff. Forget a $5 note in your pocket you will be sure to get it back.
The ambiance almost makes me forget that I am on a work assignment and not on holiday. No wonder they are always often fully booked.
I am often left in awe of the cost of investment these hotels have made in growing their businesses and the results they`ve attained. One thing that’s for sure these hotels are raking in the dollars.
Point to Ponder. Do you really need huge investment to be a successful entrepreneur?