A Florida roadside surprise | TravelResearchOnline

A Florida roadside surprise

Last week I was in Florida for a funeral and ended up at a no-tell motel along Route 1 as it was a last minute booking and I was looking for convenience. I did not expect more than a clean bed, an alarm clock, and a functional lock on the door. I got that. And more.

Every now and then I look back and remark about how far technology has brought us over the past twenty years. Travel agents have ALWAYS been at the forefront for technology. We were one of the first industries to have a computer actually ON our desktops. What was one of the first industries after pornography to embrace the Internet? Yup, that was us as well. Granted, technology has also dealt us a whammy too. It was a definite double-edged sword with online booking and suppliers taking customers away from us. But in the end, we are so far ahead of where we were that it is almost inconceivable.

Back to my no-tell motel. When I checked in, I was amazed at the technology embraced by a non-branded, independent property. I was able to make my reservation electronically. When I arrived to check in, they were able to look at their computer and tell me how long until my room would be ready, and they asked for my cell number to text me when it was ready. Impressive.

I got to my room fully expecting to use my cell phone data for my Internet access. As a solo operation, business never seems to stop. But when I got in the room, there on the desk was a note about the free Wi-Fi available along with the password. I have been to many resorts where I pay for the Wi-Fi, but this $59/night joint along Florida’s Gold Coast was free.

Impressed, I looked around the room. The door key was electronic (kind of expected that one), the alarm clock was standard issue. But what stood out was the preponderance of accessible outlets for all the gadgets and each of them had separate USB plugs—also for those gadgets.

This little no-name property really seemed to know what their clients wanted. Well, at least THIS client. I was traveling with a laptop, iPhone, iPad, and a recorder all that needed to be charged or plugged in at various points during my stay.

To be honest, I was blown away. I would have expected those types of amenities at a full service hotel, but never this one. I am a fan and when I am on the Gold Coast again, I will return.

So, now I know what will bring me back to this motel. I got to thinking what would bring me back to my agency if I were a client? Technology did it for me at the motel. What will do it for my clients? Speedy replies to all inquiries? More robust emails? Expanded hours or availability? More dad jokes? I am not really sure, but I will look into it. As Peter Shankman has said, I want to make sure I have “zombie loyalists” in my client list. I just need to find out how to make sure I am feeding them what they want. Do you have any tales of businesses that have wowed you and won you over? Leave a comment!

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