Two Content Marketing Secrets from The Ritz Carlton Sarasota

ritz sarasota  outdoor water dining You Don’t Have to be the Ritz to Deliver Superb In Person Content Marketing

My recent stay at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota reminded me of all that’s wonderful about every one of their hotels. In fact, this Sarasota gem just won the 2008 Florida Governor’s Sterling Award for quality.

On the rare occasion when I have the opportunity to enjoy a stay at a Ritz Carlton, I grab it. Why? Although the quality of their facilities is suberb, it’s the  quality of their legendary  service that creates such a talkable experience for me and for their fortunate guests. That makes for great in-person content marketing. It’s the final element that makes all the rest of your content marketing completely authentic. That’s what your customers will share with the world.  In fact, here I am talking about that very experience with you.

The Ritz-Carlton folks have determined that its sumptuous facilities are necessary but not sufficient to make their hotels so highly rated. Rather, it is the lofty level of customer service that makes the difference.

If you emulate their approach to hiring and looking after the right people and to developing a quality customer process, you can become the customer service Ritz-Carlton of your industry.

It’s All About How Your People Look After Other People

You may not run a Ritz-like facility. You may be in the middle of the market rather than in a luxury segment. You may sell B2B rather than B2C. You may sell unique components to manufacturers that most of us wouldn’t understand.  Nonetheless, you have one thing in common with the Ritz-Carlton: Your people define the customer experience. Your people will be the subject of customers’ conversations with their colleagues, friends, and the social media community.

At the Ritz-Carlton, superb customer service is the result of a quality system that combines great employees with finely-honed processes.

Secret #1: Hire the right people and treat them right.

At the heart of its promise of outstanding customer service is a total commitment to the welfare of its guests — and of its employees. The Ritz-Carlton can afford to make such a commitment to its employees because it selects them with extraordinary care.  Only a small fraction of those who apply for a position are hired. This selectivity is half the secret to the Ritz-Carlton’s ability to deliver world-class service.

Equally important to the delivery of world-class service is the commitment of the resort to its employees as eloquently stated in “The Employee Promise.”

    At the Ritz-Carlton, our Ladies and Gentlemen are the most important resource in our service commitment to our guests.

    By applying the principles of trust, honesty, respect, integrity, and commitment, we nurture and maximize talent to the benefit of each individual and the company.

    The Ritz-Carlton fosters a work environment where diversity is valued, quality of life is enhanced, individual aspirations are fulfilled, and The Ritz-Carlton mystique is strengthened.

For those lucky few selected, the company takes particular care that they are placed in the job that best suits their basic set of ‘talents’ — as the Ritz calls them. Once hired, the company commits to an ongoing training process and genuine empowerment. The result is a motivated group of employees on a mission to look after their guests, the hotel, and one another. In fact, each employee is able to authorize an expenditure of up to several thousand dollars — on the spot — to solve a guest concern. Now, that’s empowerment.

Secret #2: Put the Right Processes in Place

Talented, trained, and motivated employees are not the complete answer to understanding the Ritz-Carlton experience. The quality processes that enable them to do their jobs effectively make the difference between a very good hotel and a great hotel. From the late 1980s, the company has been on a road to continuous quality improvement based on the establishment of processes that let great employees do a great job.

Continuous process improvement enables great people to function in an optimal way. For example, the ability to promise immaculately clean rooms in which everything works is the result of processes that have been established for that express purpose. The successful operation of each hotel property is the end result determining how to optimize each critical process that leads to a wonderful guest experience. Done right, optimum results are achieved with great efficiency of effort.

In the end, doing what’s required to operate world-class hotels, enables highly profitable operations. Why?

  • First, the closer each guest’s experience is to perfection, the more likely they are to spend happily when they are there and to return — again and again.
  • Second, process improvement typically reduces costs by eliminating useless steps, minimizing expensive guest complaints, and reducing unnecessary cosmetic or remedial capital expenditures.
  • Third, happy guests will share their positive experiences with their friends who will soon also become happy Ritz-Carlton guests. And so on and so on…

In Person Content Marketing Lessons You Can Apply to Your Business

  1. You need to put the right people in the right positions. For example, at Conditioned Air in Naples, FL, they work very hard to make sure that those individuals who work closely with customers truly enjoy and thrive from regular customer interaction. 
  2. Develop and keep improving processes that make it easy for your team to succeed. Don’t let a lack of process or bad processes make it hard for them to keep your customers happy.
  3. Happy employees who, in turn, makes customers happy will motivate your customers to sell your products for you by sharing their positive experiences. Since so much of that sharing now winds up on the web, the world will soon know how wonderful your company is–or isn’t.

Another secret at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota(but probably not for long): Its superb restaurant, Vernona. If you’re in Sarasota, find any excuse to do lunch or dinner there. It’s that good.

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2 Comments

  1. Spam Sorenson
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    How much were you paid to do this?

    You can advertise and it’s ok, but to wrap your message in a “oh gee’ wrapper without disclosing that you benefited is preposterous.

  2. Newt Barrett
    Posted February 20, 2009 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    Paul,
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    It’s true that I have gotten to know a lot about the Ritz-Carlton folks in SW Florida over the past 10 years from my experience with them helping me to help elementary school kids in Naples. That was in a context in which no one at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples stood to benefit in the slightest from their assistance. The parents of the students I was helping didn’t even match their target demographics. Nobody but 5 kids, their parents, their teacher and I knew how wonderfully they handled our visit to the hotel–and how special they made those kids feel. So, I confess to having a soft spot for the Ritz-Carlton.
    From those initial contacts, I learned about the way they run the company and their philosophy about treating both guests and employees. My recent stay in Sarasota reinforced my Naples experience and made me think about the importance of outstanding customer service in the context of content marketing.
    Of course, their winning of the Governor’s Sterling Award that I didn’t know about until researching this article, pretty much suggests that I’m not the only Florida fan of the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota.

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