Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Concierge Shuttle Service

“Now, don’t worry. Every afternoon, sometime between two and seven, we will have a thunderstorm. If you are in one of the parks, just find shelter, but don’t leave. It will pass over quickly. Most people don’t know this and they will leave.” That is what Todd Affricano, our shuttle driver, told us, his passengers, on a recent trip from Orlando International Airport to our hotels.

He proceeded to give each of us tips for where we were staying or for what we were planning on doing. “Here is the map for Universal Studio” he told three passengers. “Get there early. And start out at the back of the park. People are like sheep. They start to their right and go to each attraction in order. You will save hours by starting at the back.”

He told a young couple with a child “If you need anything from the drugstore, it is right across the street from your hotel.”

Every guest in his shuttle was given an “inside tip” that was personalized, relevant and interesting. Throughout the drive, Todd filled us with valuable information that all of us on the shuttle bus could use. As a result, a few things happened. First, the ride from the airport just flew by. Secondly, everybody on the shuttle felt special. Thirdly, Todd distinguished himself. In all the times I have taken that shuttle, NOBODY ever did what he did.

I know that sometimes, when it is time to tip, I feel resentful. Often the driver will go round and round the airport making sure he gets every last customer (this can add an hour onto our trip) or the driving is so erratic everyone is scared for their lives. But, on this trip, we all couldn’t wait to tip Todd. I saw every passenger pull out more money to compensate him than usual. Todd was the world’s best concierge and he had “earned” every cent (and more).

How do you give “concierge service” to your customers? Do you provide your customers with “inside information” that they cannot get anywhere else? Do you personalize their experience?

If not, you need to start today.