Have you ever been disappointed with a hotel stay because you didn’t receive a poolside popsicle? I now am.
Yesterday, David Rendall and I stopped by the Magic Castle Hotel in West Hollywood. We feature the hotel in Pink Goldfish 2.0.
When was the last time you had a popsicle? I bet not recently.
When was the last time you had a popsicle at a hotel? You probably haven’t.
Have you ever complained because popsicles weren’t on the room service menu? Probably not.
So why would a hotel create a popsicle hotline and why would anyone care? In their book, “The Power of Moments,” Chip and Dan Heath categorize the popsicle hotline as a “peak” moment. They argue that people value and remember small unusual moments more than larger, seemingly more important ones.
This seems to be true for the Magic Castle Hotel, the #8 rated hotel out of 405 hotels in the Los Angeles area according to Tripadvisor. “Out of nearly 3,500 reviews on TripAdvisor, 94% of guests rate the hotel as either ‘excellent’ or ‘very good.’”
But why are the ratings so high?
Wouldn’t people rather stay at a consistently luxurious property like the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Seasons? The Magic Castle Hotel doesn’t have an amazing pool or beautiful furniture or lovely rooms. It doesn’t have most of the things that you’d expect from a great hotel.
What it does have is a Popsicle Hotline. Here’s how it works. There’s a red phone on a wall by the pool. When you lift the handset, a popsicle specialist takes your order. You don’t have to wait long until an employee wearing white gloves brings your popsicles on a silver tray at no charge.
In addition to the Popsicle Hotline, the Magic Castle also has a 24-hour FREE snack bar menu. They offer full-sized candy bars, chips, and sodas in lieu of a minibar.
As the Heath brothers explain, “What the Magic Castle has figured out is that, to delight customers, you need not obsess over every detail. Customers will forgive small swimming pools and underwhelming room décor, as long as you deliver some magical peak moments. The surprise about great service experiences is that they are mostly forgettable.”
In other words, being micro-weird can be a very valuable differentiation strategy, especially when everyone else is trying to be good at everything.
The Pink Goldfish is micro-weirding is differentiation by experience design. An unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure to achieve differentiation, drive retention, and promote word of mouth.
David Rendall and I sat down with Darren Ross to talk about the approach. Darren is the Chief Executive Freak of SERVICE FREAK HOSPITALITY, LLC. Darren has been at the property for the last 19 years. He shared the reasoning behind these signature extras. “We need to make it easy for our customers to tell stories about us.”
Sometimes a Pink Goldfish is a red popsicle phone and no minibar.
Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.
Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.