The Gunga Din Of The Resort Biz | Bruce Turkel

After the AOHT strategy session, I drove to Bonita Springs to keynote the Travel Industry Association’s ESTO conference. It’s being held at Hyatt’s Coconut Palms Resort, a beautiful hotel situated midway between Ft. Myers and Naples. I’m a big fan of Hyatt’s properties both because the company has a real sense of architectural integrity (the recent rehab of their mid-century classic at O’Hare international is a real labor of love) and because they seem to have a service training program second only to Marriott. But what really knocks me out about their company is their attention to detail.

When I checked in, the desk clerk offered me a glass of chilled champagne. A woman was next to me and mentioned to the woman helping her that their flight was awful and her husband was really cranky and could she have a second glass for him? The very friendly desk clerk offered her a whole bottle and said she’d have the bellman run it up to their room with a bucket of ice and two glasses. On the house!! I knew I was in for a good stay.

As you may know, one of my favorite things to do at resort hotels is go for a run on their golf courses. And the Hyatt property in Bonita Springs has a beautiful course. They built it alongside the Estero estuary and really went out of their way to design landscaping that enhances the natural beauty of Florida’s west coast. While running that evening I crossed paths with all sorts of wild birds, rabbits, lizards and Jurassic-sized giant grasshoppers (holy moly!!).

But what’s different about this course is that Hyatt clearly thought about runners and designed their course to be as welcoming as possible. I’m guessing that this is the handiwork of Hyatt’s brilliantly intuitive marketing director, Amy Curtis-McIntyre (Want proof of Amy’s talents? She was the marketing genius responsible for JetBlue’s successes. Hyatt was lucky to lure her away).

First there were no obnoxious signs warning that joggers would be shot on sight. Second, both sides of the paved cart trails are mostly sand, with a good 12 inches between the concrete and the plantings. That leaves plenty of room for a runner to have a non-jarring jog without needing to ever step on the precious turf. Third, where the trails aren’t paved they’re either packed sand or charming wooden bridges that feel great, sound great and look beautiful.

But the most amazing thing was when I finished my run and walked under the hotel’s porte cochere, the doorman on duty asked me to wait for a moment, reached into a mini-fridge under the bell station and handed me an ice-cold bottle of water!!

Can you imagine??!! He didn’t ask, he just knew what I wanted and provided it. Not that it takes a MENSA member to know a sweaty jogger would like a cold drink. But the fact that the hotel had thought about the potential situation and prepared for it just blew me away.

I don’t know who was responsible for such a miniscule yet significant touch but it really feels like Amy Curtis-McIntyre’s touch. And I really appreciate it.

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