This week I have visited two different venues in view of holding a conference there. Both of these venues are owned by the same company. However they couldn’t have been more different in the welcome that they provided.
On arrival at the first venue, I told the receptionist my name and who I was there to see. When the receptionist called the person who I had booked the appointment with, I could tell from his conversation that the staff member was not expecting me. I had to wait for around five minutes before she arrived to meet me in the reception area. The worst part of the visit came when the staff member opened the door to the room where the event was to be held and a rat ran all the way across the floor! I am not a fan of these animals at the best of times and I certainly did not expect to see one inside an upmarket venue. The staff member then showed me one of their most exclusive bedrooms. It smelt damp and musty and there was a general feeling of a lack of cleanliness. I doubt I will be returning.
At the second venue, in contrast, I felt inspired and uplifted by the welcome, hospitality and service that I received. Even prior to my arrival, the Events Co-ordinator called me and let me know they were looking forward to meeting me. She also sent me an email with clear directions to the venue. Upon arrival, there was not just the Events Co-ordinator, but also the Sales Director, waiting in the reception area to meet me. They thanked me in a genuine and enthusiastic manner for coming to see them today. The Sales Director said that meeting people like me was one of her favourite parts of her job. This put me at ease and made me feel welcome.
The staff members told me that they had reserved an area in the bar. I couldn’t believe the sight when I sat down. They had prepared a magnificent afternoon tea for me, with ornate crockery and an appetising fresh fruit platter. I felt as though I was being treated like a queen. They checked whether my name was spelt as ‘Rachael’ or ‘Rachel’. This showed the level of attention to detail that they were making to ensure that I would be pleased with the experience that they were offering. While we were sitting down, a man came up to the table and shook my hand. He said that he was the Operations Director. He checked that I was happy with my visit so far. He gave me his business card and invited me to get in touch at any time. I felt like a VIP by this point.
After the tea, I was shown through to the room where the event would be held. The staff had arranged for my logo to be displayed on a projector at the front of the room. There was also a message displayed to welcome me to their venue. The Sales Director enthused about how excited they were at the prospect of working with my company. She said that she had been on the estate where my business is located as they have another client there. She said she had driven past my office and was therefore very excited when she heard that I had made an enquiry. She asked about other events that we hold throughout the year and told me that it would be great to form a partnership.
The Sales Director named a few of their blue chip clients and this showed the level of service that they offered. She also told me a bit about the history of the building and also mentioned some TV shows that had been filmed there. The Event Co-ordinator let me know that she would look after me throughout the whole process. The Sales Director joked that the Event Co-ordinator was always there and didn’t have time off as they couldn’t afford to be without her as she was so valuable to them. I loved this attitude and it goes to prove that when staff feel important and valued, they will inevitably provide great service. It was clear that the staff felt very proud of their venue.
It was very apparent how well the staff at the venue worked well as a team. This created a welcoming and homely atmosphere. This was evident to me by the following:
- The Events Co-ordinator who I had originally spoken to on the telephone had told her Sales Director about my enquiry and had arranged for both of them to meet me.
- The Operations Director had also been told about my visit and had come to meet me.
- The staff in the corridors smiled and said, “Hello”, as we passed them.
- Technical staff had arranged for my logo to appear on the screen in the conference room, together with a welcome message.
- As we passed some other staff in the foyer, the Sales Director said that I could grab any staff member for assistance at any time. This made them stand out from many businesses in which individuals will only be focused on their own tasks and would not think about working as a team to assist their colleagues in other departments.
Throughout the visit, the Sales Director thanked me for my enquiry. She acknowledged that I had given up my time to visit them today and thanked me for doing so. She checked whether I was okay for time today, or whether I had any time constraints. She also showed respect by asking me whether I preferred to be contacted by telephone or by email. She explained that she understood that it could be difficult to take a telephone call during a busy working day.
The Sales Director also told me that I could let them know in advance who the VIPs were in my company. She said that they would arrange for these individuals to get a free upgrade to superior rooms. She said that they would put wine, fruit, bottles of water and a nice welcome note from the General Manager in these rooms. These added touches can go a long way. Another way that the Sales Director made me feel valued was when she mentioned that she had noticed on my website that it was important for our company to be environmentally friendly. She said, therefore, that they would be happy to provide crockery in place of disposable cups.
Towards the end of the conversation, I mentioned that we may be looking to hold a drinks reception on the evening of the first day of the event. The Event Co-ordinator took this opportunity to close the sale by telling me that they would be happy to put on a drinks reception free of charge if I confirmed my booking by the following Friday.
Before I left, the Sales Director made some friendly conversation with me. She asked me about my hobbies and we found some common ground. She used my name several times in conversation and said that it was good to get to know me. On my way out I was handed a nice goody bag contained some chocolates, a notepad and some further information.
Upon leaving the venue I felt inspired and uplifted. I truly felt as though I could form a partnership with this venue and that they would be dedicated to making sure that I was happy with their service. It is also worth noting that I received an email straight after my visit thanking me for coming to see them. I have a follow up email arranged for Tuesday as I said that I will be making my decision by then. It would be hard to choose another venue instead of this one after the warm welcome that I received. I would be willing to pay more money for great service like this.
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