As a sales director for Mindshare Technologies, I find myself evaluating every commercial interaction I have—with service providers, grocery stores, boutiques, restaurants, car washes, airlines, rental cars, hotels, service providers, and the list goes on. I’m perpetually deciding whether the experience will keep me coming back for more, or whether I will be shopping for a “new provider.”
I’ve always been optimistic and feel that people generally want to provide great service; however, not everyone knows how to execute and deliver like a pro. When I meet someone who is exceptional, it is worth sharing.
A most memorable “red shoes experience” happened in the New York Marriott Marquis this summer with an associate named Michael Bongiardino, who goes the extra mile as both a room service operator and a host at the Marquis’ revolving rooftop restaurant, The View.
MY DAY OF ARRIVAL
I arrived in NYC on a Monday for a three-day business event. Upon landing, I received a courtesy text message from my airline informing me that my luggage was, in fact, not in New York; it had been inadvertently sent to Atlanta.... After five hours of flying time, one hour in the “lost luggage” line, and one hour in a NYC Taxi, I arrived at my destination. Checking in with no luggage feels strange!
The fresh clothes, the makeup—all the “essentials” a lady needs when traveling—were all missing. I met up with my team (all male... very supportive) and we proceeded to dinner, followed by a few hours of outdoor sightseeing on the busy streets in Times Square. We returned to the hotel at around 10:30 p.m.
I’m not sure if I was wearing the “long day of traveling” look or a more desperate “What am I going to do with no luggage and no business clothes in a few short hours?” look, but, whatever it was, it attracted the sympathy of one hotel associate. With a bright smile and a cheery, “Hello,” he asked if there was anything he could do to make my stay at the Marriott better.
I told him that if he had any power to make my luggage appear by morning, that would be great. We both laughed knowing that wasn’t possible. However, he did have the power to provide a vase for our event booth, so he promptly wrote down the booth information and had someone from catering call me to arrange for it to be dropped off first thing in the morning.
MY DAY OF SURVIVAL
The next day began with no sign of my luggage. I was frustrated beyond belief. All of my clients were visiting the Mindshare booth, and I was stuck in my room wearing a bathrobe. According to the airline, my bags were supposed to arrive by 6 p.m. the night before. They didn’t come.
By noon, I had decided to wear the same clothes I arrived in. I went across the street to Sephora and put on some makeup, and then I attended our event. I shook hands, met new people, and put aside my traveling frustrations.
After the event, and before dinner, I stopped by my room to “freshen up.” To my surprise, I was greeted by the most beautiful tray of fresh fruit, chilled juice, and chocolate—with the sweetest note from my new friend, Michael. The sentiments included this:
“Sure hope your day is a success… wishing you a productive and fun time here at the Marquis!”
Michael’s kindness turned a “character building” experience for me into an example of the best hotel experience I have had. Truly knowing how to make a difference, Michael listened, got creative, and executed!
Michael truly made my day. I thank Michael, his management team, and all those who created an experience for me in NYC that I will never forget.