Editions or Copyright Dates

19 September 2005

Some of this might be acceptable if you weren’t looking a little tired in spots, Mr. Marriott. Hit me with these sorts of surprises and an exterior door near my room that won’t function forcing a walk around the property just to get in, and, well—I become surly. Sorry, but I do. Fix it, please, and give us a copyright date or edition number for each of your properties. Thanks.

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After Check-out

18 September 2005

I feel a letter coming on. The air conditioner in this room makes it too damp to operate a computer (safely). The mold in the bathroom makes it a little hazardous to inhale. Let me get checked out of here and situated elsewhere, and I’ll write a letter that Marriott can use to launch a serious continual improvement effort.

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An Open Letter to Lee Scott

21 August 2005

Dear Mr. Scott:

Your company has a quality problem.

Before I describe your problem, be assured that the solution is not in your public relations department. It isn’t in your communications efforts. The problem isn’t because your company is large. It isn’t because you are the sales leader in so many categories of products.

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Opportunities Missed

22 May 2005

Tourist traps mean different things to different people. For some, they are treasure troves of trinkets and tribal lore. All alliteration aside, most people prefer to avoid the place known as a tourist trap.

Historic downtown Memphis, Tennessee is a place that has some tourist traps and some remarkable places to visit. Short on recollection of the latter, I’ll mention a place that has the potential to go either way. Last night it was the former.

Type “the peabody” into Google and your first link will take you to one of Memphis’s grand ole hotels. Rennovated and operated by a local family, this fine old place is full of the tales of the past. It’s beautiful, but attempts to preserve it as designed have left it looking a bit tired and worn in some areas.

Attempts to add modern expansion to it have resulted in the worst kind of disasters in space planning, customer convenience, parking and traffic flow. Park your car in one of the first available spots for “self-parking” and you’ll hike from somewhere in North Mississippi to the lobby. Forget to prepay for parking and you’ll wind up in a line of cars idling while owners exit their vehicles to search for one of the machines that takes money and validates your parking receipt.

If the place is busy – as it was last night – no one is in charge. Bellhops are feuding with valet parking attendants. “Not my job” can be heard often. The concierge desk is unmanned. Curbside luggage handlers are deciding what kind of item they will and won’t handle based on their own interpretations of “liability.”

One guest continually referred to the concierge as the connoisseur. Were it not for those moments of hilarity, I’d have made quite the scene. As it was, I exited with the full assurance that the Peabody’s ducks – look it up – will forever get better treatment than customers, guests and those who attend events there.

That is, until someone realizes that the difference between a fine hotel and a tourist trap has far more to do with substance than image.

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No Excuses

20 April 2005

No, I cannot solve the problem you created over the last two years in ten minutes. No, your impatience doesn’t intimidate me. No, you don’t have (self-diagnosed) adult ADD—you are simply rude or don’t understand the skill of listening. No, the fact that you think you are more important than anyone else doesn’t impress me.

There is no instant pudding when it comes to improving your business operations. There are incredible results available to you as a result of sensibly applied methods. These methods require that you learn and practice some new approaches. They require you to focus—yes, for more than one hour—and think unemotionally about your business.

Power, prestige and position are your domain. Performance, facts and analytics are mine. One runs right down the middle in the rat race. The other is a ninety degree that takes you off the rat race course quickly. You choose.

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