After 22hrs of travel and multiple airport connections we finally arrive in Christchurch New Zealand at 7:30 am with no luggage. My wife and I head to THE GEORGE hotel hoping, but not expecting, to be able to check in exceptionally early at 8:30am.
We received a very warm welcome and explained our situation. As expected, our room was not ready, but they proceeded to check us in and would see what they could do. We got a map and figured we would get an espresso and buy some clothes as our luggage is still 24 hours away! We take a seat in the lobby to study the map and develop a game plan to occupy us for a few hours. Within a few minutes the receptionist, Amanda (I think that was her name) stoped by to let us know that they were going to upgrade us at no charge to a suite that was available. What struck me wasn’t the upgrade, which was very generous, but the EMPATHY that was shown for our situation. The desire to make us comfortable even though our predicament wasn’t their fault was genuine and heartfelt.
It didn’t end there though. What I thought was a bell boy going to grab our carry on out of storage turned out to be the hotel Concierge – Daniel. He met us at the room and does the normal song and dance reviewing the amenities. While doing so, he got and idea of some of the things we were interested in and told us to come down to the desk before we left THE GEORGE. When we came down to the Concierge desk he had a map ready with a list of things to do that we might be interested in. As well, he spent an additional 20 minutes mapping out several other last minute ideas. I know some of this is what a concierge is supposed to do, but there was something different about how he did it. He looked us in the eye, he heard what we said and made us feel comfortable. His empathy for our situation and desire to make our life easier allowed us to relax and really enjoy that first day in New Zealand despite the jet lag and lost luggage.
Amanda and Daniel understood the difference between empathy and sympathy a key component in exceptional service!