No. 62

Several years ago I had the privilege of flying to Savannah, Georgia, to be the keynote speaker for a Guidance Conference sponsored by the Georgia State Department of Education. The conference was to be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Savannah, and this is where they made a reservation for me. I have done quite a bit of traveling in my work and have stayed in some nice hotels before, but the Hyatt Regency just has that little extra "touch of class" that makes it stand out as one of the very best.
First, the hotel was new and it had very elaborate furnishings. It also had those bubble elevators with glass, so you can look out and see folks in the lobby as you go from the ground floor all the way to the top. The hotel also has a couple of very nice restaurants and the food was great. Since the hotel was right on the Savannah River, the view was fantastic. You could look out over the city in one direction and see the river and the large ships in the harbor in the other direction. Just these things alone would have been enough to make the Hyatt Regency a fine place to stay, but as I said, they had that little 'extra' touch of class.
After a long, hard day, I went to my room to turn in and was surprised to find the maid had come by and turned the covers down and propped up on my pillow were two small bars of chocolate wrapped in foil, and a little card with this message written on it: "To our guest: In ancient times there was a prayer for The Stranger Within Our Gates. Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people and not solely a money making organization, we hope that God will grant you peace and rest while you are under our roof. May this room and hotel be your second home. May those you love be near in your thoughts and dreams. Even though we may not get to know you, we hope that you will be as comfortable and happy as if you were in your own house. May the business that brought you our way prosper. May every call you make and every message you receive add to your joy. When you leave, may your journey be safe. We are all travelers, from birth till death as we travel between the eternities. May these days be pleasant for you, profitable for society, helpful for those you meet, and a joy to those who know and love you best."
When I boarded the airplane the next day for the flight home, this little card was tucked safely in my briefcase and as I've looked at it from time-to-time, it has reminded me of that wonderful experience. To the management and staff of this hotel, I was just another sojourner passing through, but as I've thought about the message on the card, I realized once more that it's the little things that often make the difference. In short, they made me feel "special" and in doing so, they also made me feel at home. In a general sense, the people all over Savannah were the same, and the grace and charm of this historic old city has touched my life.
The people of the south have a word for this kind of treatment. They call it "hospitality." There is an old Greek proverb that says: "The chief thing is good will." While it's hard to put a price tag on "good will", if we are to succeed in business, it's something we cannot do without. The lesson for each of us should be obvious: if we wish to succeed in business or any area of life, we must take the time to do those little things that makes the people we serve feel special. When we do, they will come back time and time again. Until next time, please understand that this is not meant to be a commercial plug for this fine hotel, but rather an example that all business people would do well to emulate. A final question. Is it possible that these thoughts could help you? (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)