I was staying at Hotel Cape Grace in Cape Town,
South Africa, for ten nights I remained for ten nights and
from there I went to Botswana to be able to spend some days in a safari After the safari, I would get back to South Africa, to Cape Town, and I would stay one
more night in Cape Town, again at Cape Grace, before getting back to Brazil To avoid taking all my clothes, evidently, in order not to take absolutely everything to the safari, specially because you cannot take much,
since the planes are small, I asked a very friendly receptionist,
actually a concierge called Sheeba, and I never forget about her, to make arrangements for my luggage to be kept there
during the week I would be absent. Of course this is very simple, the majority of hotels in the world can arrange
such a thing and should do it, keep the belongings of a guest that
travels somewhere else and comes back the next week I sat down with Sheeba at the concierge table because the concierges
and the receptionists have desks in this hotel where they welcome you She simply stands up when you approach to welcome you and elegantly waits until you sit down, only then she sits. She said to me: “How can I help you, Mr.Drummond?” And I said: “So, Sheeba, I´m travelling
tomorrow to Botswana”. And I remember Sheeba very well,
she had a very funny way of talking, she went like this: “hummmmmmmmmm” And I went on: “So, Sheeba, tomorrow
I´m going to Botswana” “and first of all I would like you to arrange that a hotel car” “take me to the airport” She asked: “What is your flight tomorrow morning?” And I said: “it´s so and so” And she opened a big book, I recall it was a huge book, and took a pencil, it was a very
beautiful book, very elegant, and she started by writing down my requests,
she said: “hummmmmmmmm” And I kept looking at Sheeba
writing down all of the information. She said: “Perfect, it´s already here,
what else can I do for you, Mr.Drummond?” I said: “Sheeba, I also need you to keep my
suitcases here at the hotel” “I will leave my bill paid, I will check out tonight”, “since I leave tomorrow morning…” “No problem”, she said, “you can leave them in the room” “and it will be arranged tomorrow morning” “that your suitcases are taken,
you don´t even have to come down” “It´s all written down! What else, Mr.Drummond?” And I said: “Sheeba, I think that´s all” “Oh, yes, I was thinking that, at the night I´ll be back” “next week, I would like to have dinner at the Grand Café” “in Granger Bay, that was the only one I didn´t get to try”, “and everybody says is great”. She said: “Excellent idea, should
I make reservations for 9 pm?” “We also need a car to get you” “in a week, when you come back”.
“Don´t you think it is better, sir?” “True, Sheeba, it´s better to have a car” She asked: “In which flight do you get back?” And she kept on writing everything down in that book And I thought: “My God, all this information
written down with a pencil”, “there are so many things, can this possibly work out?” And I went, everything was arranged, and I left, “Sheeba, thank you very much, here I go for my safari!” A week passed and I returned to Cape Town. When I arrived at Cape Town´s airport,
after a lot of connections, since I had to leave Botswana in a little plane, and from there to Maun, which is the
country´s main location, and from there to Johannesburg, connection in Johannesburg, I was exhausted from a full day travelling, I arrive in Cape Town at night And go straight to the exit with my luggage in the cart, And then I remember that I asked for a transfer, for Cape Grace to pick me up, but I also remembered Sheeba writing
everything down with a pencil Could this work out? The hotel was so impeccable, so impeccable that I said: “I´m sure they will fail in something”. It´s not possible for them to get everything right And there I was, disembarking at the airport
and I see a crowd of drivers, many guides from different companies showing
little name plates, waiting for the passengers to disembark, I looked at every plate
and there was no way of finding my name. And I said: “I knew it!” Sheeba writing all that with a pencil, in that book, I was so sure this wouldn´t work, couldn´t work, a week ago… something had to go wrong, I was about to get my cell phone to call the hotel to say that they forgot about me when I took my cell phone, and it was very fast, this happened in a fraction of a second,
I looked at the name plates, and suddenly I heard: “Mister Drummond, welcome back”, “so good you arrived!” It was the
driver from Hotel Cape Grace, who actually went to the airport without a name plate. He went to the airport without a name
plate because he did not need one. I had stayed at the hotel for ten days, so, automatically, he didn´t need
a name plate to welcome me It was just like my own driver coming to pick me up This is so elegant, so discreet, so fantastic And shows that the service is in fact
customized and can be customized. Something that we would often do, taking a name plate to the airport anyway,
they have done in the nicest possible way They left the plate aside to show
how important I was for that hotel And he went on: “So great that you arrived, sir!” And I automatically took a look at his badge to also be able to call him by the name, because at this point I had already forgotten what it was And he went on: “let me help you with your suitcases” “How was your trip, did you enjoy Botswana?” “Please, come with me, the car is parked over here” “And we can go straight to the hotel”. When I get in the car, he offers me some
mineral water, refreshing towels so that I can clean my hands and before starting the car he turns on the air conditioning, asks if I prefer some specific type of music, he gives me a menu so that I can choose the music I want. On the way to the hotel he says:
“Mr.Drummond, my only worry is that” “you have a reservation at 9pm for dinner
at Grand Café in Granger Bay” “and actually it´s 20 to 9, because
your flight had a little delay”, “so you prefer me to take you directly to the restaurant”, “and I leave your luggage at the hotel”, “or you prefer to stop by the hotel first?” That for me was unbelievable.
The driver knew that I had a reservation, that I had an appointment,
that I was late and he showed his concern This is about a true team work for the benefit of the guest To provide a unique experience,
to take care of the guest all the time To be concerned about every moment,
so that everything is perfect during the stay I thought: it´s incredible that the driver asks me this I said to him: “I´d rather go first to the hotel” “because actually I wanted to take a shower before dinner” He said: “Great, so in the meanwhile I will call the hotel´s concierge and ask for your reservation to be delayed, there´s no problem at all” “Do you prefer 9.30pm or 10pm?” I said: “Do you think 10 is possible?” “Of course we will get it” While he was driving us, he called the hotel
and asked for the delay to 10pm “Take your time in your shower, sir, rest,” “There´s no problem, when you are ready, “I will take you myself to the restaurant” I thought that was so fantastic,
apart from all this conversation, all the way to the hotel he asked how
my trip to Boswana had been, asked relevant questions about my trip, my latest stay showing that actually I was an important
guest, as everybody else should be And the most sensational of all was my arrival at the hotel. When I get to the hotel to check-in, and knowing that I had to take a shower in a hurry, that I had to get ready to have my dinner, I thought “here I go, check-in,
I will sit in the reception desk” “will hand them my passport,
my credit card, hand this, hand that…” The receptionist stands up and says: “Mr.Drummond, welcome back, how was Botswana? Then she said what sounded like magic words to me She said: “we have a quick check-in for you tonight ” She said: “we have a quick check-in for you tonight ” “Here is your key, everything is ready” “I already asked for your suitcases
to be delivered to your room” “you can rest, take your shower,
and, as soon as you are ready, our driver will take you to Grand Café. I had no check-in, just the welcome service. Why have all that bureaucracy? Why make
the guest go through all that? If they already knew me, if I had
already stayed ten nights with them, and would only be there for an extra night, they avoided all that nuisance and showed me that they were waiting for my arrival, and made sure my arrival should be very quick. It wasn´t necessary to say:
“our breakfast is served from such time, to such time. They avoided all that When I got to my room, my luggage was already there, well kept, properly placed, there
was an ice bucket with champagne that had probably just been placed there, in an action organized according to my arrival at the airport The champagne came with a card signed
by the hotel´s guest relations whom I never met, which said: “Mr.Drummond, I did not have the pleasure
to meet you during your last stay, but I´m the hotel´s guest relations,
I was on vacation, but am here now. I hope you´ve had an excellent trip to Botswana and that I will have the opportunity to meet
you tomorrow before your departure. Have an excellent night,
and please get in touch in case you need anything.” This is called customization, team work, communication, and, above all, a type of work we call in luxury hospitality, and that can be put in practice in any
hotel business, specially at a small hotel, what is very easy, what we call Guest Recognition, that is, acknowledging the guest, preparing his arrival, making him feel expected before he arrives in the hotel.