As a brander and marketer of hospitality for more than three decades, I’ve had the pleasure to experience truly exceptional and inspired customer experience on more than one occasion.

That said, in 35 years of working luxury resorts and five-star hotels, there should’ve been far more experiences.

I’m not sure why hospitality ambassadors up and down the guest touchpoint spectrum pass so many times on their “wow” opportunity. My assumption is that empowering staff to be inspired or creative, to color outside the lines even if it may incur a minor cost, may not be baked in among these brands. So the guest-facers go about their jobs, either afraid or lacking creativity or just plain filling time.

Which brings me to my jalapeno-stuff olive. Or technically, three of them.

Having ordered a martini at the bar of an upscale Southwest Florida resort, I was given my choice of olive: regular or bleu cheese. Lightheartedly, I made a passing comment about my preference — and the next moment, a manager standing next to my server promised to make that happen.

Well, she did. Stuffed by hand. Not one, not two, but three fat, delicious olives, laced with only the finest jalapeno in the house. Needless to say, I was wowed and have retold the story more than a few times (while admonishing my pals to please not repeat the exotic olive request on their next visit).

My bet is that every day, some or many of your ambassadors will face a similar moment. Like a baseball player at the plate, the pitch will come and they’ll have three choices: keep the bat on their shoulder; whiff; or hit it out of the park. What do you think they’d do?

Categories: Talking Travel