Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Intellectual and Unexpected

Colleague at dinner asked "what did you think about the TV inside the bathroom mirror". Um, hadn't noticed that.

Often can't differentiate hotel rooms at meeting locations as so many are so similar ... but this is unexpected ... The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA. Noticed flat screen TV and that no wireless in room ( ... wireless lobby doesn't work for me.) Checked the bathroom, and there it is -- the inside the mirror TV (pic) -- Reminds me of Haunted Mansion ride at Disney with moving images inside inanimate object.

Then found other unexpected things ....

1. A lollipop on top of a bathrobe on the bed - Chupa Chups; googled and learned logo designed by Dali
2. Bose sound system
3. A little paper booklet (6 pages) on the bed called "Testify" - opens with, "Welcome. We hope you are enjoying your stay. Now is the time to sit back, relax and reflect. We are pleased to provide this true story. Perhaps after reading this piece you will want to pick up the pen and write your own life story. A story that shaped and embraced you .... " The story named "The Rain King" starts with this: "I'm fifty. I'm supposed to be wandering through the green hills of the best years of my best life. But a grown child who has already moved away to make the usual mistakes needs me, and the old fears of failing him descend again". Four pages long, and was crying by the end of it.
4. Clearly I had to check the mini-bar list ... cordials, champagne ... stuffed martini olives and an "intimacy kit". THAT made me rifle around the mini-bar to find out what "kit" includes ... condoms.

According to hotel's website ... The Charles' reputation is "Cambridge's most intellectual property" ....

This hotel found expensive, inexpensive and artistic ways to be unexpected and memorable. How much effort do associations put into changing things up enough that members pay attention and start to think more?


Anonymous said...

I would have gladly given up bathroom tv, Bose sound, paper booklet, AND condoms for wireless in room. The lollipop I'd have to think about...

Anonymous said...

Give me the wireless.

Your question is a good one though: how can we transfer this unexpectedness to our associations? One of the joys of coming from an association with no huge resource inventory (The BakeSale Board of Realtors) was the challenge to one's ingenuity to provide member satisfaction without huge cost outlays. It's one of the things I enjoyed most in 30 years of association management.