Word of Mouth Tip #17: Extra special service causes conversation

The little extras are what customers love to talk about.

It’s the handwritten thank you note, the extra-friendly return policies, or how you always remember their name. These small, genuine gestures earn loyal fans and lead to long-term word of mouth.

How a word of mouth supergenius does it:

Tacoma, Washington’s Hotel Murano was recently voted No. 6 on Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice list — beating out locations in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago.

A big reason? Lots of little extras. Check out Mark Briggs‘ account of a friend’s visit to the hotel:

A friend of mine, Brian Forth, recently made a reservation at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Wash. The hotel was just voted No. 6 on the Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice list, a distinction that puzzled many locals (and everyone in nearby, and more cosmopolitan, Seattle). But maybe the award was earned through the amazing customer service – and social media connections – from the hotel staff.

After making the reservation, Brian tweeted about how he was looking forward to having a staycation with his wife in honor of his birthday. When the couple entered the hotel, they were greeted by name and given an automatic upgrade at no charge. When they entered the room, they found a welcome package including gourmet cupcakes. Naturally, Brian tweeted some more about all the nice surprises.

Upon check-in, he inquired about whether the hotel shuttle would ferry he and his wife to a local steakhouse for dinner. Later, he posted the same question on Twitter. About 3 minutes afterward, the phone rang in his room and the concierge informed him that the shuttle would be available whenever it was needed.

So Brian tweeted again. And the culmination of those tweets, from a respected local business owner, had arguably more marketing power than any local advertisement the hotel could have purchased with the money they spent making Brian and his wife happy. Think about it: the cupcakes cost $5, the rest of it was just awareness and hustle.

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