Last week I had the privilege of working five days during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf Tournament, held at three courses (two public and one private) in Pebble Beach. Here's a shot of good old hole number 17 at Pebble before the start of play. Cameras were verboten during play so I snuck a shot while at my station as a driver for the Beach and Tennis Club. My thirteenth year at the wheel so they must not be paying attention to the complaints that I have gotten for my excellent if reckless driving habits. (If they give you a BMW why drive sanely?)
Had the chance to commune with Nick Faldo (commentator now not playing, but he has put his name on the Shadow Ridge course in Palm Desert). Huey Lewis, Josh Duhamel, and last but certainly not least, Bill (groundhog day) Murray.
It was a conversation with an executive of the company that stuck with me. Not to betray a confidence I will not mention his name or position.
We chatted about luxury hotel competition, the need for or lack of loyalty programs, and guest satisfaction. In a hotel where least expensive rooms at 700 dollars, it's most certainly not a bargain brand. Loyalty programs have never been considered there, even in previous ownership iterations. I asked what they were losing in not being part of the game. He said that the guests who might be staying as a result of a loyalty connection would not fill 1% of their rooms and suites. Full occupancy during these events is common, he said. As for guest satisfaction he mentioned that they survey guests as they are staying and after they leave and the remarks are overwhelmingly positive. Perhaps it's the guest to associate ratio, the three times per day room tidy, the view, the sea lions, who knows? But, he stressed that they try to anticipate guest needs, as much as they can. And that, he said, brings people back again and again,
By then we had been in the car for ten minutes and he was ready to go to the 18th and to check on a sky box. He'd been there longer than I had that day, but he would be there at the office until the last person left the course.
Certainly the scale is different between this hotel and a chain with 4500 properties, but there are lessons to be had I guess.
I leave it to all of you to decide if they apply.