Hotel Online  Special Report

Ask What Makes You Great
Questions for Hospitality to Ask Itself


by Richard K. Hendrie, February 2005
“We will orient you to who we are – our heart, our soul, our goals, our vision, our dreams, so you can join us and not just work for us. You have the right to know our hopes, our dreams and our goals”

Horst Schultze, former President & COO for Ritz Carlton addressing new employees as quoted from Harvard Business School Case Study revised 7/02

I believe that most business people, if given the chance, want to make their brand better and more competitive to achieve the twin goals of on-going & acceptable profit and life-long consumer loyalty. The realities of doing so are difficult. Many just don’t know how to get to that next level: creating a remarkable brand whose sum is greater than its constituent parts. What is a remarkable brand? It starts with absolute clarity about who you are and what you stand for. I call it ‘the sword in the sand’ – those few key values, animated by seminal life experiences that brought you to your business and get you up every day to return to the battle. As Mr. Shultze said to his new recruits, your associates (and by extension, your guests) have the right to know your ‘hopes, dreams and goals’.

The second element is a profound understanding of your consumer’s expectations, with one caveat: there is no real value in using a consumer’s current expectations as a meaningful benchmark. Most people’s expectations are exceeded when they get fundamental services provided pleasantly or products served as ordered. That’s no standard that I’m interested in using. No, go deeper and ferret out what your consumer’s hopes are around the experience you provide and make that the baseline for standards measurement. You not only will see what it is you need to eliminate, but those elements and attributes you should celebrate. It gives an entirely different context from which you develop both your brand story and the practical processes needed to deliver it.

Thirdly, you have to develop your story that not only describes the ideal guest experience, but also incorporates the animating force inherent in your true values and your consumer’s hopes. The story becomes the trunk of your business tree and everything, I mean everything, else is derived from it. It includes how and with whom you do business, the ways you hire and train to the meaning you imbue in every moment of the consumer’s buying experience. It is a whole business system, whose soul is your story.

Now, let me give you a handful of questions to ask yourself, if you wish to go on this journey to remarkable branding.

FIVE Remarkable Branding™ QUESTIONS

  1. What is the single most important value you hold sacred in relation to your business? 
  2. Can you associates tell you what that is? Does it motivate them to be remarkable?
  3. What do your guests like and what don’t they like about what you do and how you do it?
  4. How would you describe your business or concept to a stranger? How would your guest describe you? Your staff?
  5. How do you know if your customers are loyal, not just satisfied? 
There are a ton of other things to ask and understand, but just start there.  The service economy is finished because consumer satisfaction is no longer a guarantee of intention to return and guest expectations are pegged to mediocrity. What will make you great is the excellence of your product and service. What will make you remarkable is the inexplicable combination of feeling and sublime unconscious associations guests make when they see you or think about you. That is contained in the part of the brain called the amygdala, entirely separate from the centers of logical and rationality and it is there that your greatness must reside. 

If you feel like sharing your insights with me (confidentiality assured) I’d be delighted to give you my feedback, free of charge. If not, let these questions be the springboard to remarkable-ness.


 Rick Hendrie
Chief Experience Officer

Also See: Great Service Grows From Great Praise / Richard K. Hendrie / February 2005
Is it ROI, Return On Investment or ROL, Return on Loyalty / Richard K. Hendrie / January 2005
Brand Enhancement: Invite Surprise and Delight Into Your Operation / Rick Hendrie / November 2004
Your Experience Is The Brand; Good Hospitality, Food and Service Are Merely Entry Points into Being Competitive / Rick Hendrie / November 2004

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.