Even without the advent of all of this talk of the experience economy, association membership has always been, at heart, a service industry. But a recent USA Today article about the general manager of the Peninsula in Beverly Hills proves just how much of a service industry we are...
"Oscar time was crunch time at The Peninsula Beverly Hills." - Annual Conference time, anyone?
"The French Renaissance-style stone hotel near Rodeo Drive was sold out last weekend, packed with movie moguls and nominees in town for the ceremony." - At our annual conference, all of our CEOs (who largely decide whether or not to pay our dues) are in one spot.
"Latecomers not accustomed to hearing the word "no" begged to get in." - I swear I registered. My secretary has the information. I didn't know I needed to reserve my room so far in advance.
"Some didn't." - OK, one difference. I'll give you one difference. ;)
"It's an eye-opener, showing that while a luxury hotel may look as graceful as a swan on the surface, underneath there's a lot of frantic paddling." - We've all had those meetings where we thought everything that could go wrong did...but the reviews were all raving. The attendees didn't know what didn't happen or see the mistakes.
"The 196-room hotel, where the smallest quarters rent for $475 a night, succeeds by "customizing our service to each guest," he explains." - Customization is becoming a common refrain in the association world.
"Before arrival, first-timers are asked for preferences (room location, pillow type, newspapers, special requests); a record is kept of repeaters' likes and dislikes." - Would you prefer our newsletter on dead trees, via e-mail, RSS feeds or would you just like to check out the Web site when you were interested in information? What about legislative information: e-mail alerts, phone calls?
""To us, a loyal guest is a celebrity." - 'Nuff said.
"Like most hoteliers who serve VIPs, Kasikci is tight-lipped about who has checked in or acted badly. But like most, he's seen his share of outlandish behavior." - 'Nuff said.
"The seam of one bedside lampshade is showing. He spins the shade till it's hidden. "How many guests would notice that, I don't know. But I do. The minute a guest notices, it's too late." - Perfect meeting and educational sessions, awful food served at lunch. Reviews? So-so. Feedback forms were filled out during the awful lunch. The room is too cold. The room is too hot. The room should be moved to Hawaii. ;)
"It's the details that make a hotel great, says Kasikci." - I gauge my success at the annual meeting registration desk by whether or not I ever have to ask someone for his or her name. If I have not met someone's name that I see on the roster, I will go out of my way to search for a picture so I will know what they look like when they come in. (This is admittedly much easier after being here five years - and probably only possible because we are a state association and we hold many in-house educational offerings.)
"A hotel succeeds by building loyalty, anticipating guests' wishes and fulfilling them fast." - Sound familiar?
"It's a juggling act to "determine what the market is willing to pay" and deliver a first-class product that turns a profit." - Sound familiar?
"A hotel is like a car, Kasikci says, and "every part is important. In the eyes of the guest: Who delivers the service a guest needs right now is the most important person. The guests pay your salary." He pauses. "The day we don't meet your needs, you will leave. The day you don't do things the way we want, we will part ways." - Sound familiar? Though members often see the same staff in person, everyone in the association plays a part in a satisfied member - billing, accounting, the receptionist.
Have I missed any other comparables (or comps, as they say in the hotel industry)? ;)