It was a dark and stormy night. An older couple came into a small hotel in Philadelphia. The older gentleman said, “Would you have a room for the night?”
The young friendly and smiling clerk looked at the couple and explained, “There are three conventions in town. I’m sorry, but all of our rooms are taken. It’s 1am, and the weather is terrible outside. I can’t send a nice couple like you out in these elements. Would you be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a suite, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night.”
First the couple declined replying, “Where are you going to sleep, young man, if you give your room to us?”
“Oh, I am young and healthy and can sleep at the reception area. I will be just fine,”
The older couple accepted the young clerk’s offer and stayed “the night in his personal room.”
The next morning, the well- rested older gentleman offered the young clerk a reward before leaving the hotel as an expression of his gratitude.
“Please don’t embarrass me with an offer of money for my room. I didn’t give you my room expecting any monetary compensation. I just wanted to help you.”
The older gentleman was really touched by the young man’s compassion and said, “Finding people who are both friendly and helpful is rare these days. You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you.”
The young clerk looked at the couple and smiled. As the older couple drove away they agreed that the helpful clerk was exceptional.
Two years passed, the young clerk was promoted to manager of the hotel. Opening his mail one day, he received “an envelope with a train ticket to New York, with an invitation letter to attend an inaugural function.”
The young hotel manager traveled to New York and was welcomed by his host, the older gentleman he had helped two years before. His host took him to the corner of fifth avenue and 34thstreet and pointed to a beautiful new palace like structure built of reddish stone, 16 stories high.
“That”, said the older gentleman, William Waldorf Astor, “is the hotel I built for you to manage.”
“You must be joking.” replied the young man.
“I assure you I am not.”
George C. Boldt, the former young clerk, now Manager of the hotel in Philadelphia became the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’s first manager.
The Waldorf Astoria Hotel was the first luxury hotel complete with electricity, private bathrooms, amenities, and service. The Waldorf Astoria symbolized elegance and grace.
Building Strong Relationships and Connecting with Others:
George C. Boldt was compassionate, kind, and selfless to others. He played at a higher level than was required, and the payoff was making a difference in the world to the person he had the opportunity to help. That night in Philadelphia a new seed was planted and George Boldt began to build and develop a relationship with William Waldorf Astor and his wife Nancy Astor. It’s about building and developing relationships. Connecting with others.
The Gold Standard of Customer Service at Hotels: Hospitality at Its Best
George C. Boldt as Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel set the “gold standard of hospitality” with legendary levels of humility, that inspired and motivated his staff of employees to follow his example. Boldt built the “blueprints of today’s growing luxury hotel industry.”
Building Customer Loyalty
1) By his leadership example he modeled and trained his staff to be helpful, kind, compassionate, to create an extraordinary customer experience. “The customer was always right!”
2) He introduced room service.
3) His senior staff inspected the lobby around-the-clock to keep the area tidy and inviting for his guests.
4) He insisted that all guests must have fresh flowers and a copy of the day’s newspaper in their rooms.
5) At the Waldorf Astoria Hotel restaurant, the food was delicious and impeccably served.
George C. Boldt said, “Make the Waldorf so comfortable they will never go to another place.”
For over 100 years the Waldorf Astoria symbolized elegance and grace. He was the manager for 23 years until his death in 1916.
Helped Others: Selflessness
George C. Boldt’s son, George C Boldt, Jr said, “his father, George C. Boldt, Sr., always sympathized with an eager student whose only impediment to higher education was a lack of funds.” During his life George C. Boldt “helped put at least 75 young men through college, doing this anonymously.”
George C. Boldt “also assisted those in business who were having financial difficulties and told employees at his hotels if they were having monetary problems, his door was always open to them.”
He also donated to “Cornell University, the American Red Cross, many local hospitals and built a library at Alexandria Bay, New York”.
George C. Boldt taught his son, George C Boldt, Jr and daughter, Clover Louise Boldt to help others too. They donated to Cornell University and other worthy causes.
What can you do to improve customer loyalty at your business?
What will your legacy be and who will you help?
Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is an Amazon.com Best Selling Author, speaker, business owner, teacher, conductor, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Business”. Her observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. Her latest book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available everywhere books are sold. If you need a speaker contact Madeline at: firstname.lastname@example.org