Last week we started our series on customer service at the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) with tales of extraordinary service from innkeeper archives. In last week’s blog entry we shared tales of helping guests find lost wedding rings, giving rides to guests, offering specialty foods made regionally and more. This week, we’ll continue our series with more examples from DINE inns about the kind of customer care you can expect from a distinctive inn.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about why customer service matters so much in the travel industry. Unfortunately, travel has gotten a bad rap lately, as images of airline fiascos have gone viral. But not all travel has to be a hassle. What sets the Distinctive Inns of New England apart is the exceptional customer care you’ll get here. From the moment you enter, that sense of well-being begins. You know you will be well cared for and pampered during your stay. Unlike corporately owned airlines, rental car companies and hotel chains, inns and B&Bs are independently owned. The owner is on-site, making it easy to make exceptions to the rules or to bend over backwards to make a guest happy. This happens daily at the 12 DINE inns, and at inns and B&Bs throughout the country.
If you’re not sure you can believe us, let the stories from DINE innkeepers tell the story.
Manor on Golden Pond floats the boat
“Some guests returned for their anniversary milestone and intended to take a boat tour on Squam Lake. Unfortunately, a mix up in scheduling caused them to miss the local tour. Not wanting them to miss this opportunity, we took them out on our boat and got them to Church Island where they had been married 20 years before.” – Brian Shields, co-owner/innkeeper
Face to Face at Rabbit Hill Inn
“One Guest had a fainting episode in the dining room. As he felt himself getting warm, he excused himself from the table in an attempt to step out. He made it as far as the dining room door when he passed out and fell to the floor — sliding down the wall. When he came to, we were tending to him (had already called 911) with cool towels. He was on the floor in the front foyer. In addition to not feeling well, he was more upset about being so embarrassed. He wanted to get up, but we were instructed to keep him on the floor until paramedics arrived. So, to help him relax and ease his embarrassment, Leslie laid down on the floor next to him and talked to him face to face until rescue arrived. A wonderful letter came a week later, noting how much that meant to him.” – Leslie Mulcahy, co-owner/innkeeper
Cliffside Inn Bonuses
“We tie bowties, iron shirts, steam out wrinkles, lend cuff links, provide collared button-down shirts for guest who arrive thinking a logo T-Shirt sill get them into Newport’s best restaurants, shine shoes, lend shoes, lend belts and suspenders, help write/edit toasts and blessings, attend memorial services, jump start batteries, change flat tires, walk dogs, marry couples (Nancy is a State of RI Justice of the Peace), scope out venues for romantic wedding pictures in Newport, loan fishing rods, take guests sailing, keep secrets, make home-made marshmallows for s’more parties at our fire pit on summer Saturday nights, help guests with bathroom and kitchen design for their home renovation projects…there are stories behind everyone.” Bill Bagwill, co-owner/innkeeper
Unique Breakfasts at Captain’s House Inn
“One of the highlights at staying at the Captain’s House Inn is our gourmet breakfasts. We make a point to never serve the same breakfast to a guest twice during their stay. You can imagine the extensive breakfast rotation menus we have since in the summer, two week stays are not uncommon!” – Jill Meyer, co-owner/innkeeper
Defying all the rumors that the skies are unfriendly and the roads are filled with rage, travel this summer portends to be strong. Look for examples of great customer service along the way and share them with us at Distinctive Inns of New England.
In Rhode Island: Cliffside Inn in Newport
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic