August 9, 2011


Google Street ViewThe address was on a major Toronto street. Even so, I checked Google maps. The Street View showed what looked like the hotel under construction.

My months-old navigation system plotted the path to what seemed to be a brand-new building.

The hotel wasn't there.

I could see it on a side street but not how to get there. I was in the left hand lane and the path looked like a right turn three lanes over. I backtracked and turned on what looked like the correct street.
3 hours for a 1.5 hour event?Eventually, I got to the networking event at 7:43 AM, 13 minutes late.

I happened to be chatting with a member of the foreign property management team about the “bait & switch” address. He agreed that the address was prestigious ... but misleading. Fooling visitors doesn't make a good first impression --- especially if they've been traveling for hours to get there and battled heavy traffic.

Each attendee had 30 seconds to introduce themselves to 60+ attendees. The hotel manager took 78 seconds — more than twice his share but didn't have much to say. The facilities were going to upgraded. That's nice but of no value to us right then.


washroom out of orderempty words: we careThe washroom was in bad condition.
There was a smell. Two of the four urinals were out of order. Maybe that explained the water on the floor. At least three soap dispensers were empty.

How could this be?

The We Care notice said:
In order to maintain a high standard of cleanliness in our restrooms, we clean and resupply them every hour. If this restroom should need attention, please refer to the front desk attendant for assistance. We'll respond immediately. This is just another way we show you that we care.
That’s impressive but not true. Yet someone signed the sheet at 8 AM to say the facilities were in proper working order. Gulp!


normal parking rates are cheaper"special" parking ratesWe got a "special" parking rate of $6 for 7 AM to 10 AM. That’s three hours. That’s excessive for an event that runs 1.5 hours from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM.  Even two hours (7:15 AM to 9:15 AM) would have been ample.

The parking rate sign showed the normal rate for two hours was $4.50. Our “special” cost us 33% extra and the spots we vacated could be resold.
This is worse. Another group paid $6 from 8 AM to 5 PM. That’s nine hours.

The property manager’s representative listened to my concerns and gave my business card to the hotel manager. Nothing happened. Surprised?

What About You?

If your actions don't match your words, your customers will find out and can easily tell others. Proof is easy to provide since today’s smartphones have cameras. Google+ has instant photo uploads on Android devices. Try undoing that.

Where might you be exaggerating? What can you do to meet or exceed expectations?


PS What would you do if you endured my ordeal?

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