Few hotel brands around the world are as synonymous with luxury as the Ritz-Carlton – a company boasting 108 properties in 30 countries and territories.
But what can a hotel chain that caters to the wealthy and business sectors, and that dates back over a hundred years, teach us about fostering a loving marriage and family life?
Quite a bit.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has long tried to distinguish itself from rivals by providing an exceptional experience each time a guest visits one of their properties. Lots of hotels and resorts feature exquisitely furnished and designed properties, often tucked into extraordinarily beautiful locations.
The difference, though, isn’t just in design – it’s found in the very culture of the company itself.
Leadership at the Ritz has identified and developed three steps of service every employee must employ with each and every guest:
1. A warm and sincere greeting: Employees are required to greet each guest with a smile. If possible, they’re encouraged to use the person’s name. It was Dale Carnegie who famously observed, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
How we greet our spouse or children sets the tone for the next few hours. Do we greet them at the door with a smile? Or do we grouse or growl about the problems we’re facing?
2. Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs: Ritz employees are trained to immediately size up the situation. Is the guest on business or leisure travel? Will they be needing a restaurant recommendation or a suggestion for an afternoon outing with the kids? They’re trained to look for clues, ask questions and offer to help.
Mind-reading may be an impossibility, especially when it comes to our spouses and children – but servant leadership calls for a sensitivity to other’s needs and desires. Maybe it’s putting an umbrella in your wife’s car when there’s rain in the forecast or calling on the way home from work to ask if there’s anything she needs at the store.
3. Fond farewell. Give a warm good-bye: First impressions may be lasting, but final ones can linger, too. Ritz staff are trained to be as warm and friendly in the last few minutes with guests as they were upon their arrival.
How do you say goodbye to your spouse or the children? Do you keep your head buried in your phone or tablet – or do you give them a hug and pray with them before they head out the door?
For the last few years, our youngest son insists on waving goodbye to me from the front door of our house. He’s the last one I see each morning – and his wave and smile stick with me throughout the day. He knows how to make his dad feel good.
The ongoing goal of the Ritz-Carlton is to leave a lasting impression – and encourage guests to come back again and again. That’s smart business – and also a very wise tactic when it comes to deepening our relationships on the home front.