Thursday, June 21, 2007

Would you like a goldfish in your room sir?

I stay in a lot of hotels. I'm also fairly easily pleased - a clean room and a comfortable bed is really all I need. Nowadays most hotels seem to be able to provide this and so for me there's not too much difference between the hotel chains.

Except for Kimpton Hotels.

It's a chain but you'd hardly know it. Each hotel has its own character and its own specialities. Take the Pacific Pallisades Hotel in Vancouver. My family and I are booked to go there next week. Today I received an email from the Guest Loyalty Champion.

She asks if we have a favorite beverage or snack that she can have placed in our room for arrival. Or a favorite magazine or perhaps some recommendations or interests that she can provide more information about.

Great stuff.

And then the unforgettable question: "Would you like a goldfish in your room to keep you company during your stay?" OK be honest with me, when was the last time you were asked whether you'd like a goldfish in your room?

The kids think it's a fantastic idea. They are excited already and so are we. We are really looking forward to staying there. It's memorable (and blogable) already. Sure it could all end up being a disappointment but right now I'm a happy proto-customer - looking forward to being a customer.

It seems to me that Kimpton have joined a very select group of companies. Companies we look forward to being customers of. Who else would you say this about? Apple of course. Ferrari presumably. Trader Joes, Virgin Atlantic....

Not Starbucks - I like them, but they're almost but not quite too expensive. Definitely not Amtrak and I absolutely dread being a customer of US Airways.

So here's the question to ask: do people look forward to being customers of your company?

There was no goldfish waiting in our room. We are very disappointed. Funny how a broken promise does that. The room is great, the view spectacular but no goldfish. Were it not for the email we would of course never have expected one in the first place.

I asked the front desk for a goldfish and they sent one up. Lucky is his name. He's quite small but seems friendly.

UPDATE 3 - added a picture of Lucky


  1. hum. sometimes I have trouble paying ppl enough to engage with my company.

  2. so jonathan are you saying your a ferrari customer? or is that the presumably..

    we all hope for the day when USAIR finally just goes out of buiness.

  3. No I'm not a ferrari customer - except for the lego version that I bought for my son a while back.

    As I came into the hotel last night, valet parking were driving a white Ferrari away to the garage. I told the concierge that I hoped they would be careful with my car. But I was just being presumptious.

  4. In regards to companies who were a pleasant surprise, I would vote for Midwest Express. I expected the same humdrum, overcrowded airline but all the seats were leather with extra space and legroom thoughout. It was like being in 1st class (except for not having free drinks and great food - but it was a short flight.)

    If you ever have the option, give this airline a try.