Saturday, August 18, 2012

Westin St. Francis Marketing WIN

Switching it up a little bit this time. I'm reading 'The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome'. It's a two-in-one book, where part one discusses how businesses succeed to create awesome marketing, and the other side (near and dear to this blog) are a bunch of marketing fails.

I've been inspired by the 'awesome' side of author Scott Stratten's book, and decided to share a story of my own from my recent honeymoon to California. 


My wife and I were having a fantastic time on our trip. We spent a week up in Sonoma and Napa and finished our trip with three days in San Francisco. We stayed at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square. One thing that we discovered on our honeymoon, is that most hotels will make your stay extra special when they figure out you're on your honeymoon. The Westin was no exception. They upgraded us to the penthouse floor of the old building, with an awesome room and an even better view of Union Square.

Awesome view - and this isn't even the best part.
We were loving our time in the city. On the Saturday night, we heard that the Giants were playing. Having never been to a game at AT&T Park, we decided this would be a cool experience.

We headed down to the concierge to figure out the best way to get tickets. The concierge gave us kind of a cold greeting, told us the game was sold out and there was essentially no way to get tickets. It was pretty disappointing. I asked if there were any other options to get tickets, even inquired about scalpers, and she just basically just said that we were screwed.

On the elevator back up to our room, I remembered that some of my friends use the website StubHub to get tickets. I never used the site before, but figured it was worth a try. Within 15 minutes, I had bought tickets, printed them in the hotel's business center and we were on our way to the game.

While enjoying garlic fries, looking at the massive StubHub ad in the outfield and seeing Tim Lincecum pitch an almost flawless game, we heard this was the 127th consecutive sellout. I thought about how many other people have been to that concierge, and were told unnecessarily that they simply couldn't go to the game?

Sellouts don't matter with StubHub.
When I got back to Ottawa, I got a customer satisfaction survey from Starwood Hotels. At the end, in an attempt to help them improve, I left a little comment about how the concierge could have been more aware of alternative ticket options. Shortly afterwards, I got a call and an email from the hotel's Guest Services manager. She offered her apologies and said that their concierge's are supposed to know about these options, but they would be giving them a refresher. I was happy to hear that no one else would unnecessarily need to miss the game, and that they were going to do something with my feedback... but it doesn't end there.

The Guest Services Manager asked me for my address, so she could send me 'a Giants baseball momento'. I gave it to her and forgot that I did, until a couple weeks later, I got a package from Fedex. 

Giants momento.
Inside there was a nice handwritten letter from the hotel, a baseball hat AND a shirt. This was above and beyond what they needed to do, but it showed that they really cared.

I am obviously a little biased now, but I've also stayed in a lot of hotels in San Francisco. If you want to stay an an awesome hotel, that could not be in a better location and that cares (a lot) about their guests, then checkout the Westin St. Francis.

Have you guys experienced a similar situation? I would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment in the comment section below.


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