Club Insider

Defining the Experience

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Karen Woodard-ChavezKaren Woodard-Chavez

The purpose of this article is to share a recent experience at a hotel that translates to the club environment. It can affect retention and how club operators can define the experience for the staff to deliver to members and guests with consistency that creates a signature.

I attended the Abierto Mexicano (Mexican Open) in Acapulco in February. It is a lovely small tennis tournament that has aspirations to become the fifth Grand Slam. If you have a chance to go, do so. It is well organized, the players (Venus Williams, Fernando Verdasco, Juan Fererro among them) are very accessible to the fans, and it is held on a beach front property in Acapulco. Sounds good so far, eh?

The experience was not at the Open, but instead, at the hotel where I stayed --The Fairmont Marquez, which was right next door to the tournament at The Fairmont Princess. I left the tournament early one of the nights and went to the hotel for dinner at The Marquez at their Mediterranean restaurant called Tabachin. Walking in by myself, the Captain of the restaurant recognized me from earlier in the day (where he had an opportunity to introduce himself and get my name as well), remembered my name and greeted me with "Buenas Noches, Senora Chavez." I immediately felt welcomed and included in this beautiful restaurant. He asked me if I wanted to dine inside or outside, and I chose outside. He took me to my table, and within one minute, the lovely young lady that was his Assistant came to my table with a beautiful travel magazine. She also greeted me with "Buenas Noches, Senora Chavez, would you like something to read while you dine?" How thoughtful was that!? She was anticipative and attentive to my possible needs as a lone diner and took care of me with something simple and unexpected. That was a very nice touch.

A few minutes later, a waiter arrived with a plate of olives, hummus and bread and greeted me with "Buenas Noches, Senora Chavez, this selection of olives, hummus and bread are compliments of the house." Shortly after that, I had a pesky mosquito bothering me and another waiter (Fernando) came to my table with bug spray and said, "Senora Chavez, would you like some insect repellant?" Once again, the well-trained staff anticipated my need. I never asked for the spray, but he was so attentive and paying attention to the overall experience of each and every guest, rather than socializing with co-workers and missing opportunities to provide stellar service.

Another waiter appeared a few moments later with, "Buenas Noches, Senora Chavez, would you like something to drink?" I opted for a single glass of wine. Yet another waiter appeared to tell me about special plates for the evening, took my order and greeted me as consistently as the others with "Buenas Noches, Senora Chavez..."

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