When I found a handwritten envelope with the Best Western Napoleon Inn & Suites’ return address in my mailbox last week, my thoughts immediately turned to the worst. I had stayed at the modest property the week earlier after attending a country wedding in rural Northwest Ohio, and while the one-night stay went without incident, the business-sized envelope evoked a bubbling sense of cynicism.
Was I being charged for something extra—running water, a broken keycard entry, a missing towel?
No, I quickly assured myself. I had left the room in the same condition I had found it. I was sure of it. Wasn’t I?
I was, as it turns out. The envelope contained no extra charges and no angry comments from the hotel manager. Instead, it held a few forgotten photographs that I had left behind on the TV stand, along with a simple note: “You forgot these! ?”
On today’s bloodthirsty street corners, that’s where loyal customers are born. It’s precisely that kind of guest outreach that will distinguish your property from your competitor across the road and get that guest to keep coming back.
And the good news is it requires very little capital outlay.
Sure, the housekeeper easily could have tossed my photographs in the rubbish. She easily could do the same with forgotten hairbrushes, ties or souvenirs. But by showing a little thought and care and turning in those and other left-behind items, she perpetuated a fond, lasting impression of the property that I, along with other guests in the same situation, will spread through positive word-of-mouth.
To foster that kind of behavior at your property, be proactive. Tell your housekeeping staff and other associates to keep an eye out for lost and forgotten items. If one is found, ask staff to look up the appropriate name and billing address on file for that particular room, and have them send it to its owner.
Usually, the expenditure likely will be minimal—the cost of a standard 44-cent stamp, for example. Not bad for a loyal guest.