On May 28th 'Heart Ibiza' will open it's concept to the world. The Adria brothers (ell bulli) team up with Guy Laliberté of Cirque du Soleil to "experience a creative collision between art, food and music".
Obviously the two parties are known for their high standards, exquisite quality and of course their creativity... However, we think they succeed because of another reason.
I remember clearly the first time I saw a Cirque du Soleil show. Like anyone, I was blown away. I pondered for many years over why the shows are that good. It was circus, nothing special. I saw that as a little kid in the eighties. But this was different. Yes, there were clowns, acrobats... but it was different. Why? It didn't come to me.
Many years later it hit me and I immediately saw the link with the hospitality industry. You see, to me the restaurant and hotel business is one of the most complex there is. Think about all the individual components that go into such a business. Recruiting, food safety, cost control, training, bookkeeping, customer service, etc... And those are actually similar to any business. The big challenge is that the customer takes you up on all the details, especially the execution. Drinks have to be cold, food has to be hot, bedsheets have to be impeccable, not too much noise in the hotel, the temperature of the poolwater must be perfect. I could go on for an hour. Not one detail can be overlooked. One mistake can be fatal.
After seeing several Cirque du Soleil shows, I had the privilege of seeing "O". The show in the Bellagio on the Las Vegas strip. Again, I was very impressed. I tried not to watch the show but looked at the "how do they do it" parts. The lighting was controlled by multiple people - some of them hanging from the ceiling - and even the opening of the curtain was spectacular (don't want to spoil it for you, should you have not seen it).
When I was watching the singers, standing behind a white, slightly see through curtain, it hit me! I finally figured out why they were that good: they take everything apart, bring it to a new level and bring it back together again. They look at every part of a show and question themselves over and over again on how they can make something better.
The colors of the costumes are amazing, nothing you have ever seen in another circus. Stripes, dots, feathers, you name it. The make up is perfectly in sync with the costume. Even the name of the shows are words you have seldom heard of, they inspire people to find out more. We want to know what the story is behind that mystical name.
They don't stop there, oh no! The music is live, the singing is perfectly in sync with certain stunts. Even the way you enter the tents is carefully designed so you don't miss the merchandising. When you leave the show, again you walk thru the merchandising area. Just like Disney had figured out in their theme parks.
But how does this add up to the hospitality industry? It's my humble opinion that we can learn from them. When every restaurant owner looks at his product and separates every aspect of it, I'm sure you can lift the quality and the level of service. Bringing back all the individual pieces will give you a complete concept at the highest level!
Picture a hotel. Any hotel. Maybe one you have been to. Think about the individual aspects or services you encountered. How was the reception? Was staff smiling? Did they use correct language? Was their attire perfect? Did they make eye contact?
Five questions and we haven't even been to the room yet. My suggestion is to look with a critical eye to every piece of your hospitality operation and improve were you can. Bring all pieces together again and end up with something that is better than the sum of its parts... just like a Cirque du Soleil show.
Vincent M. Vermeulen
The time is right we guess for another "hotel review" post. You can have a look at our rules for these postings in the previous post.
When we arrived at the hotel, it was so dark. The taxi driver actually missed it and had to back up. Granted that we arrived past midnight, I would have still expected some lights on at least in the reception area, since it is a hotel, and the receptionist was told to expect us at a late hour.
Our room was on the 4th floor. It gave me the creeps that there was an armoire that was situated in the corridor that blocked half of the door to our room. Our room was supposedly the last available in the place, so there was no point in asking to be moved. When we entered the room, it was weird that there was a feather (from a feather duster, I guessed) stuck in the curtain. I thought that was careless of the cleaning crew to have left that behind. There was a mosquito or some other insect flying around. The towels also did not seem clean.
Were it not for the late hour and the fact that other hotels I had called earlier were fully booked, I would have seriously considered getting out of there.
The next day, we had to catch an early train. We asked the receptionist to call for a taxi. After 2 calls and waiting for about 10-15 minutes, he told us there was no taxi available. It was only after I pressed him for alternatives that he told us that a taxi stand was within a 5-minute walk around the corner.
I would not come back to this hotel.
The hotels' response
We could not find any response by the hotel management to this review.
Our opinion and suggestions
I would have still expected some lights
When guests explicitly let you know that they will be late, you should be very careful. These people probably will have had a hell of trip and coming to a city they maybe don't really know. Can you imagine if this receptionist would have done a bit of trouble by leaving a light on or maybe even hanging a sign on the door with something like "Mr & Mrs Smith, please ring the bell, we will come immediately". This small note might have done it for these people. They would have felt welcome.
I thought that was careless of the cleaning... The towels also did not seem clean.
It is clear that the housekeeping team has not really a high standard in checking a room after it has been cleaned. Even if you run a small hotel, you should have a checklist to make sure the most basic things have been done.
Tip: always have someone else check the room after it has been cleaned. It's funny but someone else is more likely to pick up things than the person that has cleaned it. In the rush of things you might overlook it.
he told us there was no taxi available
Guests who are in a hospitality situation will get even more upset when they notice that staff doesn't care. We speak from experience in observing over 100 cases where receptionists were instructed to give an impression of not caring.
In this case the staff member should not only show a pro active attitude but also offering multiple options to assist people in this situation. He could have:
- called another taxi service. Hard to believe there is no other taxi available in Paris.
- have a plan at hand and show these people where to find a taxi stand
- tell them about other transportation possibilities: metro, bus, etc...
the hotels' response
Not responding to these kind of reviews is unacceptable. You should always reply!! We can't stress this enough. There is always two sides to a story and if you're on the wrong side, you can at least apologize and/or compensate.