Bed and Breakfast Feedback is a GiftPosted by Darren Drevik on Jan 28, 2016 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments The late Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” always stressed that feedback is a gift. He bemoaned that so many companies were defensive about any criticism they received. They took it personally, and shut down or tried to make excuses to mute or refute the criticism.
How many of us are like that?
At the Phineas Swann, our team constantly reminds itself that bed and breakfast feedback is a gift. We don’t shower every morning in every room. We don’t sample every bottle of wine (we’d be stumbling down the stairs if we did!) We rely on our guests to tell us three things:
- When their experience is insanely great, or
- When their experience doesn’t meet up to their expectations, and
- When their experience is insanely great, but there’s one thing that could make things every better.
We get mostly the first type of feedback. We love it. Who doesn’t love compliments?
We sometimes get the second. Rest assured, we move quickly when a hot tub isn’t getting hot enough, or a TV remote has turned the cable box kerflewie.
But it’s the third type of feedback we crave. Because it gives us a chance to tweet the little things, and make more stays insanely great. What are some examples of this over the past three years?
“Thanks for all the coffee in the Fireplace Room. Do you have hot chocolate?” – Now we do.
“I know check-out is at 11 am? Is there a way to have late check-out?” We now offer a late check-out option for rooms for a $50 fee assuming the room isn’t needed for the next day.
“My room was great, but it would be even better if the lamp was on the nightstand rather than across the room.” Guess where the lamp is now.Our favorite feedback tweet that most people would think is small and silly came from a guest about some of our antique posters. Past visitors know we have lots of antique magazine ads from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s framed around the inn. Most are ones that were in place when we bought the Phineas Swann, and we love them.
But one guest last year had a comment. “Why do you have tobacco ads — even old tobacco ads — in a room where children often sleep?”
The first instinct is to think this a trivial complaint. And it was presented in a matter-of-fact way, not in a tone that suggested criticism.
But it was a great piece of feedback. It’s something we’d never considered. We’d dusted those framed ads hundreds of time and never considered that small children might be going to sleep with dreams of Lucky Strikes dancing in their heads.
So, needless to say, we replaced them and sold them to a picker who made a few bucks re-selling them at auction. But we’re OK with that. Because by changing them out, we did that tiny incremental improvement that makes the next guest’s stay a little better.