Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lessons Learned from a Pooch Hotel?!

*Full disclosure right now – my dog, Hippo, is spoiled. Enough said…please continue reading.

As a dog owner who travels a bit for work and pleasure, the decision on where to board your pet while away is a big one. For me, and Hippo, it has a lot to do with the environment the dog will be in while I’m away – how much play time is there with other dogs, will they give medicine each day, will they bathe the dog before I get home – that kind of thing.

So if you’re evaluating boarding facilities – all of them have the basics – a cage for sleeping, a play area for group play and some sort of grooming facility. It’s the ones that go above and beyond that stand out.

It struck me a couple weeks ago when I had to drop Hippo off for a three night stay at Pooch Hotel (in Chicago – www.poochhotel.com) that there are quite a few similarities between the dog hotel and the hotel we stayed in – save for a few.

Pooch Hotel
The online boarding reservation system is a breeze and everything is handled at one time, on one screen – you can make the boarding reservation, you pick size of cage, treats or no treats at bedtime, spa (aka grooming) appt, individual walks to a park, etc.

Human Hotel
At a human hotel once you complete the online reservation, then you have to go back online or call the concierge to make dinner reservations, spa appts., court time/tee-times, etc.

Pooch Hotel
Upon arrival – all the desk staff welcomed Hippo by name without asking me who it was…Their secret? I’m not sure, but I think they take pictures of the dogs and keep them with the dog’s file.

Human Hotel
Travelers have the opportunity to provide profile information about their preferences – but are they taking advantage of it? I know I have a profile at Wyndham and when I stay there I get extra pillows and Diet Coke – I love it.

I encourage, not just the hotel world, but everyone including association professionals to capture and then use the information they have on guests/members to their advantage.

Clearly, Pooch Hotel is exceeding my expectations, and I will return. So, I ask, what are you doing to stand out and exceed your client/customer/guests expectations?

Are you a hotel? What do you provide your guests to keep them coming back?

Are you an association? How do you make your members feel like #1 all the time?

Are you a service provider? What do you do to make your clients feel cared for?

Share your thoughts – I look forward to them!


Jeff Hurt said...

Wow, there's a lot of insight in this post. Maybe we should cue some hotel brands to read this and find some ways to make the people experience better than the pooch hotel!

Love it. Good job.

PCMA Membership Blog said...

Thanks for the comment, Jeff. I welcome feedback from hotels, or anyone who serves a general population, really. It's the personal touch that matters most - how you get there probably not as important as the fact that you need to be there!