In August of 2016, I was on extended business trip in the Middle East. As always, I used the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai as my “base camp” hotel. This hotel is remarkable and if you ever go to Dubai, you must stay here.
There are many things that sets this hotel apart from the other but the one ingredient that I enjoy are they staff. Everyone No matter where I go in the hotel, every one of the staff members remembers my name and treats me as if I were their most favorite guest.
After a few days of this treatment, I was laying in bed thinking, ‘man, it’s great to be their most favorite guest’. I thought about this for awhile and then an incredible panic attack hit me…. “What if they treat EVERYONE this way?! This means that I’m really not their favorite but just another guest.”
The more I thought about this, the more sense it made. Of course, this is their program, to make ALL the guests feel great. Of course I say this tongue-in-cheek. It is in fact, the purpose of any successful business, to promote customer satisfaction. However, my bubble had just about been burst.
The next morning as I was having breakfast, I explained my dilemma to the Executive Lounge Team. They confirmed my suspicion (of treating everyone nicely) but assured me that I was ‘up there’. “UP THERE?!”….what the hell does ‘up there’ mean??? I want to be the best. This is where the Best Guest idea was borne.
I explained to the staff that I did not want to be just top ten and that we needed a formal way of sorting out my actual place. “Let’s at least make it a fair choice”, I explained. “Today, I am formally entering the campaign for BEST GUEST“. They agreed and said that that was a good plan…(I felt the mental eye-rolls). So, off on the campaign trail I went.
At lunch, I explained to the restaurant that I was running for “Best Guest” and could I count on their vote. At dinner, I explained the same. In fact, everywhere I went, I stopped the staff and explained that I would appreciate their vote for me for “Best Guest”.
This went on for another 3 or 4 days to the point that random staff would come to me, introduce themselves and assure me that I could count on their vote. It was really quite funny and almost got out of control. This was happening all over the hotel. Soon, various staff would come up to me and say, “You have my vote Mr. Larry”. This came from the Thai restaurant, the pool, the gym, the front dest to even the bellmen. I felt like Ferris on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
On the eve of my departure, I was presented with a marvelous platter of treats and artistic hand-carved characters made from food. Along with this nice platter was a special certificate confirming that I was in fact, the “Best Guest Ever” at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. The staff assembled around me for photos as they presented me with my plaque and plate of hand-crafted food animals. Later, on reaching my room, I found a cake had been delivered, decorated and writing that I was the best guest. Along with the cake came a very nice hand-written card and signed by the staff!
I was blown away by the whole event. The way that everyone had participated in this charade of a campaign…everyone seemed to enjoy the ridiculousness of the whole event. At the end of my trip, I was so sad to leave everyone and it seemed to be mutual. I will always remember this experience with great fondness to the incredible staff at the JWMMD hotel. Btw, this is the tallest hotel in the world.
Footnote*…. Actually, since no one else was even running for the award, I knew that I was a lock. However, because it was a made up game, I wasn’t actually expecting an award. My plaque now sits on my desk and I think about the great people in Dubai every time I see it.