How to Lose Business

A recent site tour given to one of my clients with an environmental association took a turn so bad, that it simultaneously reminded me of another macabre sales picture from my old Kimpton days and encouraged me to blog to hoteliers about how to lose business.

First, last week’s ugly scene.  My client, the Executive Director, of a prominent, grant and EPA funded association in Washington, DC was conducting site tours for their Mid Year Meeting in 2016.  Without naming the hotel or the city in question, suffice it to say that a site tour was going reasonably well with a large national brand in that city.  My client, without even realizing she was setting the hotel up to fail miserably, asked innocently enough when finished with her water bottle, “do you have a recycling bin?”  A simple yes would have continued this site tour on its otherwise wholly positive trajectory.  However, the response instead was, “oh, you can just toss that in the garbage, we don’t really recycle here.”  In one short casual sentence, this sales manager instantly showed my client that he had done no pertinent homework on who his audience was.  Throw out a water bottle – to an association whose primary duty is to protect the environment?  Even with the hotel policy being true, this sales manager could have been contrite and proactive in showing my client some alternatives.  But in one solitary statement, the hotel lost the business and could never recover.  Egad.

I do remember a time nearly a decade ago when my company was hosting a VIP decision maker from the American Lung Association.  Ah yes.  Perhaps we could then have been a bit more diligent about ensuring we did not check that guest into a smoking room?  Seriously?!  Book done.  The end.