🍍 Providing exceptional hospitality
Plus: Key cards vs phone apps to unlock rooms
Today we’re looking at
How the managing director of San Francisco’s #1-rated hotel defines (and provides) exceptional hospitality
Key cards vs phone apps to unlock rooms
Aman’s fragrance line
Terry Haney runs the Lodge at the Presidio (San Francisco’s #1-rated hotel on TripAdvisor) and the Inn at the Presidio (a 5-time Conde Nast Reader’s Choice award winner) as Managing Director at Presidio Lodging. This week I’m sharing excerpts of our conversation.
What is exceptional hospitality to you? What goes into providing that?
It’s different for different guests. Exceptional hospitality isn’t necessarily what we have for everyone. Take a typical Four Seasons guest. Our hospitality may not be exceptional to them. Ritz Carlton guests may be looking for a totally different experience than what we’re offering.
We’re never trying to be something that we’re not. We offer a different experience than anyone else. If this isn’t what you’re looking for, then you’re not going to be happy here.
The person who’s wanting to go to San Francisco and looking for the best deal is not going to be happy at our property. If I drop my prices by $200 and start advertising on Expedia, I’m going to get a totally different guest – one who is not going to be happy about being out here in the middle of nowhere. We’re in the Presidio, which is within the city limits, but it’s 15 minutes to downtown. In traffic, it’s worse.
If people want to be 15 minutes from downtown, but still go hiking in the park and have coyotes outside my window and be close to the Golden Gate Bridge, we provide that. If that’s what you want and you’re willing to pay for it, then you’re a different clientele.
We don’t yield rates. Our rates are established throughout the year and don’t fluctuate depending on the market. Nobody does that. Our guests appreciate this. They feel like the room is worth this and it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is or how busy it is. That’s what the room is worth.
I tell everyone not to drop their ADR when times get tough. You’ll never get it back. I’ve seen this so many times. We held on to our pricing through COVID and we didn’t drop rates. If you were downtown and paid $275 for a room and now you come back and it’s $485, you’re not going to be happy. That’s not a $485 room to you.
We also choose our guests by where we market. I don’t partner with Expedia and Hotels.com and all the discount OTAs because our customers don’t shop there. I partner with Mr. And Mrs. Smith and Tablet and Kiwi collection – higher-end travel partners. I do that because of the market they’re in.
Our guests aren’t looking for a cheap room in San Francisco. They want an experience. That’s what we offer them – a very real experience. It’s not ‘ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen’ – what we provide is almost peer to peer. Our staff is very respectful, but they’re welcoming and down to earth and at home in their skin. They can talk to people about where they want to go and what they want to do and can relate because they know the area so well.
Is your technology making life better for your guests?
The only contactless technology I found better than a keycard was a wristband I wore at an all-inclusive resort on a recent stay.
What has your experience been?
Aman’s fragrance collection
Scent is a powerful element of experience design, something Aman is showcasing: