Imagine a man comes to your hotel room, carting a bucket of water, to ask if you need your toilet flushed.
This was the surreal moment I found myself having on Tuesday when, due to a water main break, the guests at the MGM Grand Detroit lost water to their rooms.
The trouble started early with many of us waking to find our showers and toilets weren’t working – scrambling to get ready for a day of meetings. With water service disrupted until the early evening, the situation could have spelled disaster for the hotel, but instead I was reminded how an apology (or many apologies) can turn a negative into a positive.
The efforts began with voice mails left for all guests explaining the situation, and continued throughout the day in the form of small gifts of custom chocolates and bottles of water. But what impressed me most were the employees I met in the hallways and elevators who, upon finding I was a hotel guest, offered their personal apologies.
Keep in mind, this situation was not the hotel’s fault and the resolution was also completely out of their control. Despite what I knew had to be a stressful day – think about the man with the bucket of water and the number of toilets that probably needed flushing – the staff remained upbeat, friendly and helpful.
When presented with the opportunity to move to another hotel, I decided to wait and see if water would be restored. Because of the hotel’s efforts, I not only wanted the water to be restored, I was cheering for them. I was even contemplating if I could go another day without a shower. (Laps in the hotel pool had served as a good alternative Tuesday morning).
There are many times an organization is faced with a problem, either of their own making, or completely out of their control. The question is – how can you turn a negative into a positive?