InspirationOff the Cuff

From bad to good, my experience at the W Washington D.C.

By July 31, 2013 August 20th, 2016 9 Comments

I’m always on the lookout for examples of businesses doing things right. Ones that go above and beyond and leave a lasting impression. It’s inspiring to see. There are so many little lessons to be learned from watching others do good (and bad). So, I wanted to share a recent experience my wife and I had at the W Washington D.C. It didn’t start well. But, more importantly, it ended well. How? Here’s a short story on how they went above and beyond to turn a bad experience into a good one.

My wife (Eileen) and I were looking to get away for a long weekend with our 15 month-old daughter (Ella). We didn’t want to go too far, so it had to be within driving distance. We picked Washington D.C. to see the sights. We figured it would be the perfect place to walk around with a stroller and pop in and out of the museums. Plus, daddy wanted to see the Air and Space Museum again!

Hotel location was key for us. We wanted to be within walking distance to everything. So, we booked the W Washington D.C., located right across from the White House and a few blocks from the museums. Perfect!

Other than the typical thrown Cheerios and spills in the back seat en route, the 3-hour drive down was uneventful.

We checked in, got our bags sent to the room and got settled in. Fortunately, we were upgraded to a beautiful suite on the third floor with two rooms, which is all but a requirement with a little one in a portable crib!

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So far, so good. Or so we thought.

Who’s ready to party?

That night, just after we got Ella down to sleep, our room seemingly turned into a night club. Thump thump thump. Get the glow sticks! There’s a party going on…

…downstairs in the “Living Room” bar, right below our room in the 2-story lobby. Ugh. Really?

After a long drive and a day of walking around the city with a toddler in 100 degree heat (yes, it was during the heat wave), the only thing we wanted was a quiet bed.

So, we called down to the front desk and complained a bit. They apologized and attempted to get the music turned down. That never happened. Maybe that’s why they had earplugs on the nightstand.

Fortunately, Ella never woke up thanks to the sound machine we had blaring with white noise in the corner. We eventually got to sleep, but it wasn’t ideal.

From bad to good

At this point, management at the W Washington D.C. had a choice. They could do nothing or do something.

They did something.

The next morning, the front desk manager again apologized as we were walking by and offered to move us to a higher floor. They also put 10,000 points back into our SPG account for the trouble. While this was a nice gesture, it’s exactly what I expected. Nothing less. Nothing more.

The second night, after another sweltering day of sightseeing, we returned to the hotel, said hello to the front desk staff and got settled into our room.

A few minutes later, we got a knock on our door. They sent up two chilled bottles of water for us. Nice touch. They obviously noticed us walking by downstairs, which prompted the speedy delivery.

Not too long after that, another knock. We opened the door to find a colorful, “Washington D.C.” teddy bear.

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A note was attached.

Mr & Mrs. Teschke & Miss Ella,

We are again really sorry about last night. Please let us know again if there is anything that we can do. We especially wanted Miss Ella to have this cuddly bear from Washington D.C. Hoping she can rest easier tonight!!

All the best,

The Team at W D.C.

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Wow. We didn’t expect THAT! Would you?

Molehill out of a mountain

The music that night still played below, but we didn’t notice it nearly as much. Sure, it was just as loud and just as annoying, but we felt that the people downstairs cared. And, at the end of the day, and in today’s fast-paced, mass-produced-everything world, that means something.

So, we ended up having a great time in our nation’s capital. We visited all of the museums, got a few pictures in front of the White House and just had fun hanging out as a family. Mission accomplished!

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Life’s little lesson

It doesn’t take much to simply care for people. It’s the little things in life that mean the most. It’s not what’s expected. It’s what’s unexpected.

And, how much do you think all of this cost the hotel? Maybe a few bucks for the bear and water?

There’s a little lesson here for all of us. Care.

Author Jeff Teschke

More posts by Jeff Teschke

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Colleen Conyngham Mazin says:

    great story. and your wife is a hottie!

  • Haha! Yes. Yes she is. Right, Eileen?

  • Eileen Teschke says:

    Ha!! Thanks, Colleen!! Xoxo
    Thank goodness for the earplugs!!

  • Eileen Teschke says:

    Ha!! Thanks, Colleen. That look lasted for 5 minutes until I walked outside in the swamp and Ella pooped on me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great story Jeff – posting a link on our Intranet as an example on how to do service! P.S. if you ever need someone to goto the A&S Museum you can drag me. One of my favorite places. I need to take my shoes off to count the number of times I've been there!

  • What a beautiful family, Jeff! Posting on our page as well… love it!

  • Deal! Love that place. I'll fly us down there. What's amazing is that it's only been a little over a century since the Wright Brothers figured it all out. Amazing.

  • Fantastic post, Jeff. Well done. I recently had a similar experience with a different kind of company; however, the outcome was not "care." Your story is a reminder that excellence and the unexpected act of kindness can make or break a customers experience. That human touch in a fast-paced world is invaluable! Love the family photo and the cheerio comment too. :)

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