Just what is a Luxury Hotel?

Times change, but our dedication to perfecting the travel experience never will.  Our highly personalised 24-hour service, combined with authentic, elegant surroundings of the highest quality, embodies a home away from home for those who know and appreciate the best.   ~from the Four Seasons website.

So here I am sitting in the lobby bar of the very upscale and luxurious Four Seasons Hotel at Canary Wharf in London. As you know, London rivals New York as the financial capital of the world and Canary Wharf is an area where all the major financial services organizations and global investment banks have their headquarters.  Definitely home of the “captains of the universe” and a good location for a world-class luxury hotel.

I am not staying in the hotel but have come to have dinner with a potential consulting client in the Quadrato Restaurant.  So far, sounds pretty good.

I arrive early and wishing to get some work done I order a drink and pull out my iPad2 to check email, etc.  I connect to the WiFi  and get a strong signal, but before I can connect to  the Internet up pops a screen telling me that all I need to connect is a PIN number, which I can gladly purchase at the front desk.  Guess how much?  £15, about $22 US dollars!

Deja’vu.  You may recall my previous blog (Why I Dislike Big Hotel Chains) about a similar incident in Pune, India at the Hyatt Regency hotel.

Here is my experienced business traveller point of view.  I have just brought business into their establishment,  a business dinner for two, with wine, to the tune of £100+ and I can’t even get free WiFi access for a few moments! Plus I had a drink in the bar as I was waiting (and not being allowed WiFi access) to the tune of £15.  I know there’s a hefty profit margin on drinks, wine and dinner.

So, based on these experiences here is my business traveler’s definition of  the Four Seasons “luxury”hotel:  high prices, average service, expensive surroundings and charge the customer for every little thing we can get away with.  A smile is not luxury service.  A marble lobby is not luxury service.  Providing the guest, or in my case paying customer, with what they need at the time they need it is luxury service, and very rare these days.

A message to the accountants who must be running these hotels.  It is important that your customer service policies match your customer marketing rhetoric. What part of customer satisfaction don’t you understand?  You have just lost a future customer – calculate the cost of that over a lifetime?

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

E | john@johnrchildress.com      T | +44 207 584 3774      M | +44 7833 493 999

About johnrchildress

John Childress is currently Visiting Professor in Strategy and Culture at IE Business School in Madrid and a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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One Response to Just what is a Luxury Hotel?

  1. Pingback: Just what is a Luxury Hotel? | John R Childress . . . rethinking … - University Lebanon | University Lebanon

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