I found myself reminiscing today about a guest that used to stay with us at about this time every year.
I have lost touch with her over the years, and given her age when I last saw her, it would not surprise me to find out that she has since passed away, as she was already quite old then.
The reason she was on my mind was two-fold; first because it was her birthday, and I used to do something special for her whenever she stayed with us, and second, because it was also about this time of year that I would find myself arguing with the staff about this same guest.
Picture if you will, an older woman, probably about 70 then, and she had been staying at this luxury property, every year, for about 14 days at a time, for about 20 years in a row.
Why the argument with the staff?
This woman was, to say the least, eccentric. She was quite a character. She had devised ways to avoid paying for local calls, she would walk around her room naked at times, and leave her door open to the hallway – not a pretty picture. And she always had a smelly little dog.
And what seemed to upset the staff the most, was that I would let her stay in a premium view room for a fraction of the rate that everyone else was paying. She was VERY particular about staying in the same room that she had always stayed in, for 20 years.
My reason for “giving in to her” as some staff described it?
Loyalty, plain and simple.
I used to remind the staff that this woman came, and paid what was a high rate, BEFORE the Hotel was renovated, before we commanded the rates that we now did, and at times when other people were not travelling, there she was, in the good times AND the bad. She was the epitome of a “loyal guest” and as far as I was concerned, those 20 years were worth something.
Sure, she was a hand full, she used to come down to my office at all times and demand to see me immediately, and I would happily always make time for her, help her with her travel plans and such, and use the opportunity to remind her to keep her clothes on.
And no matter how many times I would tell her not to bother, she would bring me gifts, for helping her. There was quite a collection over the years. Many of them were clearly used items and samples from businesses. One year I received a used green and yellow wallet – it didn’t get much use.
Regardless, she had spent her life savings over the years to stay with us, and that has to be worth something.