I'm in Houston for a conference, staying in a very nice Westin Hotel. My expectations are high when I stay at a Westin--and so far nearly every experience has met or exceeded my expectations: from room décor and cleanliness to the staff's customer service to the quality of the food.
But there's one little detail that's been bothering me. And that detail is the difference between liking this hotel and I-heart-loving it.
Here's the detail. The Westin, like other hotels, is trying to encourage customers to be more environmentally conscious by not requiring fresh towels and fresh sheets every day. (This also saves the hotel a lot of money, but we'll ignore that for now.)
And Westin is now taking the effort one step further. In my room was a card titled, "Make a Green Choice" with an offer to "earn rewards when you conserve."
The pitch goes like this: "For every night you forgo full housekeeping, you'll receive $5.00 to spend at participating food and beverage venues or 500 SPG Starpoints."
I have to admit that I was intrigued. After all, I'm environmentally conscious. I recycle. I compost. And I don't wash my towels at home after every use.
But then I read the fine print (which, by the way, was very, very small): "Please note that this includes all room cleaning and trash removal. Housekeeping will not enter your room, so items like coffee and bathroom amenities won't be replenished unless requested."
So suddenly a positive experience became a negative for me. I wanted the warm, fuzzy glow of helping the environment, but I didn't like the all-or-nothing scenario.
And here's where the game-changing idea comes in. With "Make a Green Choice," Westin created a binary choice: housekeeping or no housekeeping. But I wanted the ability to customize the experience.
I wanted to specify exactly what the housekeeper provided while still being eligible for the offer. For me, what matters is that the housekeeper empty the trash cans and make the bed, even if she doesn't clean the bathroom. I'm sure other guests are sticklers about bathroom cleanliness and don't care about empty trash cans (or never generate any trash in the first place). For still other guests, it's all about the amenities.
So, because I wanted partial service, I had to accept all service. (I tried to hang my towel neatly on the hook to signal that I didn't need fresh towels, but the housekeeper whisked away my damp (but not dirty) towel.)
Sure, I understand that the degree of difficulty increases if Westin provides choices. But my satisfaction would increase, too.
The question for you is this: Can you give customers exactly what they want, not something close? How can you change the game so customers are not just pretty happy, but delighted?