The Hyatt on Chicago’s Miracle Mile, where I spent one night last weekend, does not, however, even get “a C.” When I arrived, tired and ready to check in, the young lady at the front desk gave me the run around because I did not have my confirmation handy and my husband, who was parking the car, had put the reservation in his name – thus I was not allowed to check in without him even though I showed my ID.
When I inadvertently pulled out my Hilton Rewards Card, she made a pointed remark saying, “Ma' am, this is not the Hilton – this is the Hyatt.” Right. You can be sure I’ll remember that the next time I’m choosing between the two brands as everything from the valet parking service being on the blitz to the lack of coffee condiments and towels for my party began to stack up and weigh on my mind, especially given the price we’d paid ($54 for valet parking, alone).
My mind raced back to the stellar visit I’d enjoyed at the Hilton Garden Inn (in Atlanta at the Perimeter Mall) a few weeks early where every single staff person and the facility itself exceeded my expectations. The amenities and service – including a surprise tray of sweet Southern specialties delivered to my room the first day of my stay –felt more like a four-star hotel. I checked my bill to make sure the $116 a night rate that NAPFA had arranged was indeed true (it was). Even the shuttle driver handed me his card and said, “Don’t forget to tweet about us – here’s my handle and the hashtag you’ll want to use.” They all made a point to mention their Facebook page and Yelp ratings (thumbs up from every single visitor).
I wonder if Delta or the Hilton Garden Inn will notice my comments and send me a thank you email or Tweeted reply for talking them up online? We’ll see if the Hyatt on Wacker Drive will notice my not-so-great comments in this article (and the ones I plan to post on Hotels.com, the service through which I booked the Hyatt) and get in touch to assure me this one stay was just a fluke.
THE NEW TRANSPARENT WORLD
As service providers, we must all be aware that we live in a new and ever-more-transparent world. It seems that everyone on this airplane has some sort of a smart phone or digital device capable of capturing photos or video.
At my son’s senior performance at Loyola University Chicago last week, nine out of 10 people in the audience pulled out their video cameras and smart phones to record his fifteen-song solo vocal show. When I asked Jonny over dinner that night how he felt about my posting a couple of the video clips on my Facebook page, he shrugged and said he’d decided some time ago that he’d better live his life as if anyone and everyone could see anything and everything he did at anytime. As a leader in his fraternity, he knew that “brothers” and other college friends could snap a photo or post a video and “tag” him or talk about him on their social networks whether he liked it or not. He said that most of the college students he knew had a new appreciation for good conduct and protecting their personal reputation online.
Another college senior told me over a fabulous celebration dinner at Chicago’s Grill on the Alley that Twitter had become his most relevant way of receiving information. By following certain news stations and other trusted sources, he has created his own personal news feed. “I learned that Steve Jobs died via Twitter,” he said. “I’m getting a sense of some of the employers I’m looking at joining by reading their Tweets.”