Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 18 2013

You Won’t Believe This Hotel Guest’s Request

David McMillin, Staff Writer

Do you live by the adage that “the customer is always right”? Well, what about when the customer makes a completely insane request?

That’s what happened when Dustin Wray booked a weekend getaway at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center near Houston, Texas for himself and his girlfriend. Katie Kindelan at ABC News reports that Wray, a cloud account manager at Rackspace, submitted an unusual add-on in the “comments or special requests” box on his reservation form: he wanted three M&Ms and one picture of bacon to be waiting for their arrival.

The request, of course, was a joke. However, the staff at The Woodlands proved to bemore than accommodating. When Wray and his girlfriend arrived, the chocolate-coated candies and picture greeted them. In fact, the hotel even one-upped the request. The picture of bacon was framed.

Wray and his girlfriend aren’t the only winners from this odd story. The resort is receiving a very nice PR boost, too. When Wray returned home, he posted the images on social news site Reddit, and the response has been massive. In less than three days, the images captured more than 190,000 views, loads of user comments and local news coverage. That’s quite the return on an initial investment of three M&Ms, a frame and some delicious-looking bacon.

Wray proved to be a forgetful traveler, though. In a recent interview, he admitted that he forgot to tip (and let’s face it - - this request deserves more than 20 percent). However, he says that he has been in contact with the resort to apologize for the error and that he’ll be returning to make good on his mistake. The staff has continued to showcase their lighthearted approach to life. Their last email to Wray included an attached image of - - you guessed it - - bacon.

SEE ALSO: 5 Key Challenges Facing Hoteliers

The staff proved that they understand the new reality of today’s social-media fueled world: every guest counts. In an era where travelers rely on Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews in their decision-making process, each guest’s experience plays a critical role in a property’s reputation. While hotel managers can easily single out travel writers or high-profile guests to ensure they enjoy a superior experience, this story serves as a lesson that even the most unsuspecting traveler can have quite the audience.


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