I was traveling last week and have to say that it was an interesting week. As I got on the plane Monday morning to head east toward a week of bad weather, I knew I needed to brace myself for the challenges I would likely meet. During this crazy week, I had the chance to stay at an EVEN Hotel, the new hotel product by IHG. I have stayed in many hotels over the years – some cool, some sophisticated and some not so nice. EVEN is a real example of disruption in the hotel industry.
From the moment I walked into the lobby with its circular, low front desk, I felt like I was in a Starbucks. Continue the experience with yoga in-room amenities, real plant life, an airy feel and a comfy bed, and it felt like someone stopped thinking about hotels like hotels...no different than Starbucks never seeing itself as a coffee place.
Only one waiter facilitated the food experience at EVEN (that is right – 22 people served by one guy who was friendly and helpful)! As you chose your seat in the open, windows-everywhere room, he walked up to wherever you sat. With an iPad ordering system as his only tool, he casually upsold you while your food was freshly prepared. He asked me, "how was your sleep last night?"
When I approached the front desk and dared to ask if they would ship my luggage back to my office (I knew my travel back to Phoenix was one where no luggage was my best bet), I was stunned when, without hesitation, Korey Smith said, "yes." Just "yes." (and he did it, too!)
After the medics revived me, I had yet another pleasant surprise coming. On a day where finding a cab would have been a joke in most hotels, my car arrived on time. My friendly driver spoke of how, despite the bad weather, "when the EVEN Hotel calls, I find a way to be there for their guests."
He shared, "they are so nice and good to me, I have to be there for them." I could hear my mother saying,"Renie, what goes around comes around…"
As people's actions are a reflection of good leadership, I must give credit where credit is due. Here's a big shout-out to GM Scott Blakeslee for the outstanding experience.
Disruption is easier to create than execute. And when you execute it, you are doing something extraordinary. It all comes around.