And we are back! After an extended Christmas vacation from our blog, we are back at it and it feels good. I’d like to share an email our Executive VP of Global Relations, Rob McDaniel, sent out to the staff upon his return from his recent trip to New York. No matter how small the initiative one presents within customer service, it leaves a lasting impression.

To All Synergy Staff,

I wanted to share a brief story about an outstanding customer service experience I had while traveling the past two weeks.

As some of you may be aware, my travel took me first to our annual industry conference in Phoenix, then onto Malta, NY to identify housing solutions for one of our major clients and finally to NYC where I met w/clients and partners.   The conference in Phoenix was held at the Arizona Biltmore which is a Waldorf Astoria hotel.   In NYC I stayed at Cassa, a luxury hotel and apartment building in Times Square.   You would think that surely this “outstanding experience” occurred at the Waldorf Astoria – the iconic pinnacle of the Hilton brand or maybe at Cassa in NYC, the hip/trendy place to stay.   You would be wrong on both.  Rather, it was what happened a small Hyatt Place hotel in Malta, NY that has prompted me to craft this email.

For reference, Malta has a population of about 13,000 and is located 250+ miles N of NYC and 30 miles N of Albany.  Also, keep in mind that I arrived less than 2 days after one of the largest snow storms hit the Northeast.   Needless to say it was interesting to see icebergs floating down the Hudson river.

I arrived in Malta on Mon 2/11 after a 5 hour train ride from Washington, DC + another ½ hr drive from Albany.    Having had no lunch, I was quite hungry.   When checking into the Hyatt, I was greeted by a very friendly front desk staff member along w/the GM who happened to be standing there.    After small talk (which I typically don’t like to do when hungry – just ask my wife), the GM asked where I was traveling from.   Upon hearing that I traveled up from DC by train, he asked if I had eaten.  I explained that I did not; but I would go out later in the evening.   He walked me around to their small “market kitchen” and, pointing to a row of freshly made sandwiches, wraps, salads, said “take whatever you want, on the house”.   Not wanting to be greedy, I selected a small turkey wrap.  He then placed a bottle of water and bag of chips in the bag saying that you can’t have just a sandwich, please take chips and water as well.

Now, the story doesn’t end there.  The next morning as I was leaving my warm/cozy room headed out into the 12 degree snowy weather on a mission (you can imagine me whistling as I walked down the hall), I was greeted by the housekeeper.    After extending a very pleasant “good morning” and asking “is your room comfortable and did you sleep OK” – to which I replied yes, thank you – she asked me this question “Can I do anything extra for you today?”.   Quite taken aback, I said – No, everything is fine; but thank you for asking.

Upon returning to my room around 5PM and after knocking out some emails and a conference call, I got ready to head out for dinner a local restaurant I’d seen earlier in the day.    That’s when I noticed something that caused me to say “Wow”.    On the bathroom sink in addition to my toiletries being neatly arranged, I found a brand new tube of toothpaste.  The housekeeper noticed that my travel size was getting low, so she replaced it.  Not just w/any tube of toothpaste; but the exact brand and size I was traveling with – Aquafresh Orange.

What is point of this story?    Our mission this year at Synergy is “To Make it Personal”.    It’s the little “extra’s” we do for our guests and clients that make all the difference – not the fancy marketing slicks, website, apps.   Honestly, I don’t remember much about my room other than it was clean and well appointed.   However, it’s that small .99 cent tube of Aquafresh Orange + a free $5 lunch (both unexpected) that prompted me to give them a glowing review and when Jack goes to Malta next February after a snow storm, I’ll strongly encourage him to stay at the Hyatt Place.

Thank you for all your hard work.  Continue to take care of our guests and clients by doing something extra and unexpected for them.