places we love

Why eavesdropping at a Luxury Hotel (Ritz Carlton-Toronto) is a GOOD thing.

My wife and I recently spent an evening at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Toronto to celebrate a relationship milestone dear to us both. What we discovered much to our luck (but maybe not a surprise) is that the hotel, its amenities and staff are unparalleled when it comes to service. Now, I haven’t spent much of my time travelling and even less staying in hotels at the luxury class of the Ritz but I have seen enough to know what to expect and believe me, they met our expectations. I would think that anyone would agree that the most important thing, no matter what type of hotel you visit and regardless of locale, has to be how you are treated. The amenities, the image and style can vary but the service, attention to your needs and your experience is what makes the difference. Every time.

This time was no different.

After thoroughly enjoying a lovely evening, exquisite meal and nightcap in the lounge the following morning brought us back to the restaurant for a quick breakfast before getting on with our busy day. During the meal we overheard two gentlemen engaged in a breakfast meeting discussing business development. We couldn’t help eavesdropping because of their animated tone (and the fact that they were sitting right next to us). These two must have forgotten that they were meeting in public. We listened intently in between perusing and chatting about events in the local newspaper and our upcoming holiday plans.

What we heard next was a nice surprise.

They covered the topics of the RFP process, the relationship with their customers, building new business and managing their teams. We made a game out of trying to guess their industry. It sounded astonishingly similar to ours; both of us being with professional services firms in the architecture and design field. The discussion sounded similar to some of the issues we deal with on a daily basis. How hard it is to sustain business on the RFP process alone, who in the team was good with relationships and how challenging it was, in this market, to compete on the many customer service levels of their business. Funny thing is that they always cycled back around to the customer relationship angle. Hardly an angle they surmised but an essential business tool to maintain and grow their business. “You can’t just focus on RFP responses” one said. “You can’t spend all your time growing and nurturing the team” opined the other. “Hey, without clients there is no team, no business” they agreed. All the while, we nodded our agreement from our table. And on they went. For how long, who knows? We finished up and left them to their discussion.

We were surrounded by the example.

That conversation leads me back to the Ritz. The Ritz knows how to treat their clientele. Tourists, corporate retreats and events are likely their primary source of income. Regardless of how you slice it the endgame always comes back to people. They have figured out what matters most. The decor is a matter of taste and personal opinion. Luxury is certainly a driver for the Ritz in the clientele they attract, however, without the attention to you, their customer, the best style, decor and environment wouldn’t matter. This is not unique to any business, asset or product. Treat your employees with the utmost respect, train them well for the environment and they will reciprocate by treating their job and your clients with the utmost of respect. After all, doesn’t it cost you many times more to obtain a new client than to maintain an existing one? I bet that goes the same with employees.

Can you hear what I hear?

It’s amazing what you hear when you listen. No matter where you go or what you do you will hear this story told in many different ways over and over. Someone who is treated well will most often repeat their story as likely as a person who is mistreated. So, wouldn’t you want to hear the positive story more often than the critical one? I know, I know, it’s a redundant question but it’s good to ask yourself once in a while.

So, with that thought in mind: 

  • Rack up some points.
  • Change some stuff in your life.
  • Help someone.
  • Do some good.

Or just buy a round.

It will make you feel good. It will make everyone else feel appreciated. And good vibes is what it’s all about. They will ripple back to you at the same amplitude that they went out. Infinitely.

What have you heard?


About rdopping

interior design guy who loves other stuff; social media, photography, film, food and anything that is good for the growth of the self


6 thoughts on “Why eavesdropping at a Luxury Hotel (Ritz Carlton-Toronto) is a GOOD thing.

  1. Another nice one! It’s funny how much we learn when we didn’t intend for that moment to become a lesson. And I’m with you on everything – especially your list. That’s my plan for 2012. Glad that you and yours are having a wonderful holiday season. Thanks for dropping in to say HI. Looking forward to many more conversations with you in 2012. Have a safe and fun time. Happy New Year! : )

    Posted by Carolyn | December 31, 2011, 19:00
  2. Thanks again for being a good friend. I too look forward to tons of great content and conversation for the coming year.

    Posted by rdopping | January 1, 2012, 09:10
  3. You and I should really take regular coffee breaks! Three things: when I was at Umbra we had a ‘Ritz-Carlton Rule’ which meant that whatever came across your path: a phone call, question or task – you owned it. This made us united in our approach to service.

    Second: I should tell you about my Friday night prosperity classes. No matter what industry one works in, no matter where we walk on our path in life, I believe the larger lesson we learn is to give beyond reason, care beyond hope, love without limit; reach and stretch and dream in spite of our fears; letting our light illuminate darkened paths and our gaze lift broken spirits. Our talents are just a vehicle to express these things.

    Third: RFP’s are certainly a classification all their own. What one says may not be remembered; but a person will always remember how you made them feel. That can come across through the content that is written in these; the design and readability; the interview…and certainly every day on a customer service and employer/employee/co-worker level.

    Posted by Karen | January 2, 2012, 03:45
  4. Nice! It’s good to see the lasting impression from companies that take the apporach Umbra does. Surprising. Funny thing is that I worked on their head office design back in 2000 so I spent a bit of time with Les and Paul. Guess we never really got into that type of conversation back then. Thanks for the insights. Very helpful and inspiring. It is simply nice to see and yes, the RFP process is a beast unto its own. Time to try to think about these in a less formulaic manner. That’s the challenge now.

    Posted by rdopping | January 2, 2012, 06:48
  5. Very true indeed and as an aside – The Ritz Carlton Toronto’s Hendricks Gin Martini(s) with strip of cucumber is to die for – I nearly did!!

    Posted by Bill Black | February 10, 2012, 13:27

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