How To Lose 33% Of Your Sales In 30 Seconds

As an eternal optimist, I rarely focus on the negative, but today’s an exception worth sharing. Monica and I spent 2 days at a ’boutique hotel’ on the Southern New South Wales coast this weekend. The property was magnificent, Internet broadband was fast, the breakfast sublime. So what could be negative about that?

The owners and staff had an ‘edge’ to them that each time we requested something, their tonality was such that it was felt that we were putting them out, disturbing them or otherwise inconveniencing them.

Monica and I thought it was just our acute sensory perception, but this morning at breakfast, the waitress broke the camel’s back with another guest when she ‘forced us out’ of the breakfast ‘house’. She said we had and I quote “We need you to leave so we can close up here.” WITHOUT explanation or apology.

The guest was stunned – I was stunned. Monica was stunned.

The other guest pointed it out to her how rude it was and her response… Are you ready for this?

“I am just doing what I am told to do.”

Monica and I were considering staying an extra day – that’s a 33% increase in sales for them.

Not gonna happen. We can’t endorse and support that kind of behaviour.

The other guest, from his reaction won’t be coming back.

Referrals – the lifeblood of boutique hotels – are simply not going to happen, in fact a blog like this does a LOT MORE HARM than the referrals they will get.

That’s why I won’t name the hotel – I am not into retaliation and retribution. They ARE ALREADY paying the price and will CONTINUE to pay the price, I don’t have to up the ante.

The moral of the story is you can do 99% of the things ‘right’, but the 1% you get wrong can kill your business.

Think about your tonality, delivery and intent when responding to clients and prospects…

Think about the COST of not doing it right – it could be 33% or even higher!


Do you know what happened when we checked out? They wanted to charge us $100 for a late checkout fee because we were checking out 20 minutes late! The room wasn’t even booked for that night – we know because we had inquired about staying the extra night…

Can you imagine that?

You want to know who was right behind us in line? The guy from the restaurant that morning! Who chimed in with “That’s why they call it the hospitality industry.”

I soo wanted to get on my blog and tell everyone the name of the hotel – they pushed me right to the brink…

Then I drove home that night and Monica and I laughed it all off – the service was so bad it was comical, laughable. These people seemed like ex Sydneysiders who invested ALL their life savings into this property and think that it’s enough. It’s not.

They have that ‘old school’ mentality that employees are to be bossed around – that’s probably what got them retrenched in the first place.

They were probably bankers DICTATING rules and regulations to their clients like obsolete corporate dinosaurs forgetting that there is ONLY ONE BOSS IN THE HOSPITALITY BUSINESS —

The guest.


After the laughter died down, the sadness of the reality set in and it’s why I don’t want to tell you the name of the hotel. They are going to have tough times ahead. Business is going to dry up pretty quickly – travel agents will get wind of it and other guests won’t be as kind as I am being.

They will get what they deserve. As an eternal optimist, I hope they learn their lesson BEFORE it’s too late.

If they don’t, too bad. They’ll have gotten exactly what they deserved.

2 Responses to “How To Lose 33% Of Your Sales In 30 Seconds”

  • Hi Marc,

    I couldn’t agree more. Ever since the banks felt that customer service wasn’t necessary, other businesses have followed (think telco’s!!). As an award winning chef who used to work in 4 and 5 star hotels, we were ALWAYS told that the two most important meals we served were:

    1) Breakfast
    2) The club sandwich

    Breakfast was the most important, as it was the last meal the customer ate before leaving and was often very time dependant (flights, meetings, check out time etc.) and the Club Sandwich, while possibly the cheapest meal on the menu, was the meal ordered the most frequently, and EVERY hotel has a club sandwich. The client will always compare your version, to other versions they had eaten.

    Most people would concentrate on the fillet steak or the crayfish, but how many people order them compared to the club sandwich? Anyway, back to ensuring that my client’s needs are met and that their food products are safer than their competitors.

    I hope that your next break will be more rewarding,

    Eat well. Eat safe!

    Gavin Buckett
    The Gourmet Guardian

  • Wow- a great reminder to be mindful of how we speak to others in a generous fashion.

    As far as not just losing business, but gaining ground and developing business, it’s amazing that there are plenty of skill sets that are for whatever reason not “conventional” enough to be taught in schools, but the mastery of which would lead to more autonomy.

    Most of us are trained to be employees- nothing wrong with that, but thinking that way can be a kind of tunnel vision that keeps many from learning skills that would allow them to carve out their own path to income and contribution.

    One of them is as close as the computer in front of us. No really, for the first time in history, we are 3 feet in front of the world, yet few learn how to use it in a way to render 1) value to others and 2)income for themselves.

    There ARE ways to learn this stuff, if you can avoid all the junk and find good and reputable sources.

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