In our recent family trip to Melbourne, I met an owner and CEO of his company. He shared with me his experience when he took a business trip to Bali.
Because he had to stay a couple of nights, he booked at a 5-star hotel. He usually stays at the Ritz Carlton hotel, but when he looked at a hotel booking website, this other hotel (which also was a 5-star hotel) had a significant discount so he went ahead and booked a room himself to avail of the savings.
When he got to the hotel in Bali, he found out that his assistant also booked for him. Because of the double booking, he had 2 rooms under his name.
Talking at the guy at the front desk, he asked if there was any way to cancel the other room since he only needs one. The guy said no. Then my CEO friend asked if they could at least give him a couple of breakfast vouchers the next day so that his managers can eat with him during their breakfast meeting. The response? Another “no.” Frustrated, he asked, “Is there anything you can possibly do for me?” The front desk guy shook his head and said, “Sorry there’s nothing we can do.”
That night, my CEO friend went to a banquet he was invited to and met the General Manager of Ritz Carlton Bali. When asked about his experience with where he was staying, my CEO friend started venting his frustration to the Ritz GM. To this, the GM of Ritz said, “I’ll see what I can do.” My friend said, “No need. It’s okay. I was just sharing with you my experience.”
When my friend got back to his hotel room, he was surprised that there was a spread of food and goodies, a couple of bottles of champagne and a couple of breakfast vouchers for his managers. He called the Ritz GM and asked him what he did. The Ritz GM said that he just called the GM of the hotel my friend was staying in and relayed his experience.
My friend asked, “Why did you do that? I appreciate the gesture but why? You’re not getting anything out of this plus this was your competition.”
To this, the Ritz GM replied, “Wherever you are, you are Ritz Carlton family.”
My CEO friend looked at me and said, “Pastor, guess where I will book next time?”
After he told me his story, I had a few takeaways.
Whether it will directly benefit us or not, just go ahead and serve.
2. Insecurity is unattractive.
The Ritz GM didn’t feel slighted at all when a faithful client tried out another hotel. Sometimes we disconnect and cut off relationships because we feel people seem disloyal.
3. Empower others to serve.
It’s better to make a mistake on the side of serving people rather than serving policies. Remember to share this with your team members. And when they make a mistake by going over the budget or bending over backwards to accommodate when they decide to serve, commend rather than scold
Remember, relationship is more important than the rules. The rules serve the relationship not the other way around. Policies and rules are helpful. But they exist to strengthen and serve the relationships.