“Hello, Mr. Thorpe”, may not be all that unusual in daily life but I think it is at a hotel you stay at 8 nights a year. 

I serve on a few councils, boards and committees that meet in Minneapolis, MN.  So with participation in these organizations goes travel and hotel stays.   So, about 6-8 nights a year I stay at the Hotel Sofitel in the twin cities.  It is a beautiful property that has been newly renovated and has a unique European flair.  It is a fairly expensive hotel but the organizations I serve pay for it and it is their property of choice because of convenience but most of all because they take extremely great care of us.

I registered early on in my stays there to be part of their guest loyalty plan so my name and all vital information is in their data base.   They apparently know how to use this information for their benefit in a surprise and delight fashion.

Here’s what happens nearly every time I stay at the hotel.   I usually arrive in the twin cities around 6 PM, rent a car and drive to the hotel.  I just park in the parking lot and drag my roller bag in to the hotel. They would take it from me at the front if I desired but I am not fully comfortable with that.  You know, don’t want to be an imposition.  As I walk up to the hotel the most amazing thing happens, the doorman opens the door for me and says these magic words, “Welcome back, Mr. Thorpe”.  It warms my soul every time it happens.  How can four words just make my day?  Easy, it tells me I am at the right place, I am home.  Would I stay anywhere else?

Now Sofitel knows I am coming from their data base.  I am enrolled in their club so the have plenty of information on me but here’s the kicker, they use the information in a most appropriate and pleasing way.  Credit must be given to the doorman because he must remember me but he has a lot of secret service help.

Most organizations today that serve guests have a data base to trap and utilize guest information but do they do it?  Sofitel knows how to connect with Don Thorpe on an emotional level.  I get a warm feeling when I think of staying there.  When my wife and kids have traveled there with me they think I am a celebrity by the way I am treated. 

Here’s my challenge:  How can organizations today from hotels to hardware stores to gas stations use the information they are already harvesting to surprise and delight their guests? I mean connect on the most human and emotional level.  Now that’s a Secret Service System!  To that I say, “Welcome back, Mr. Thorpe.”