I recently attended a conference at New York’s historic Waldorf=Astoria hotel. I had planned to go for an early morning run and when I got outside, discovered it was raining heavily. I opted instead for a workout in the hotel’s fitness center. When I got there at 5:40AM, I checked in through foursquare and sent a Tweet indicating I was there for an early morning workout.
The fitness center was clean, well-equipped and staffed by a very polite trainer. He greeted me when I signed in and handed me a towel and a bottle of water – everything I expected from a luxury hotel like The Waldorf=Astoria. Toward the end of my workout, something unexpected happened. In response to the Tweet I had sent an hour earlier, I received a Tweet on my iPhone – from @WaldorfNYC. The Tweet was simple and concise: “Enjoy!” It made my day. It turned an ordinary customer experience with the hotel’s fitness center into an unforgettable one.
What made the Tweet from The Waldorf=Astoria so unexpected?
Here was a brand that, for over a century, personified the best of New York City’s elegance and grandeur. The brand can be traced back to 1893, when millionaire William Waldorf Astor opened the first hotel where the Empire State building sits today. The current hotel on Park Avenue opened in 1931 and has played host to famous entertainers, visiting dignitaries and every U.S. President since. The lobby areas are dotted with historic black and white photos and the building itself has been designated an official New York City landmark.
Yet, as steeped in tradition and history as they are, the brand never stopped innovating. They embraced social media apps like Twitter and HootSuite to engage their customers – both by listening to and speaking with them. It’s all part of what makes a stay (and even a workout!) at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City an unforgettable customer experience.