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April 7, 2015

A Plaza Hotel Proposal to Remember | Best Customer Experiences

Ed Capelle of Eugene, Ore., offers up a story of stellar customer service at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City. His then-girlfriend had a dream to be in Central Park during a winter snowfall. So when it came time to propose, Ed worked closely with the hotel staff to create…

photodune-10104376-central-park-horse-carriage-rides-in-new-york-l… his significant other’s dream scenario. After three weeks of back-and-forth phone calls and emails Ed and his contacts at the Plaza Hotel had put together an epic proposal event highlighting the romance of New York City. Almost like a custom ordered hotel guest experience.

The hotel staff had arranged for every detail to be executed perfectly per Capelle’s explicit instructions. “The hotel staff helped me get tickets to Phantom of the Opera, get reservations at Tavern on the Green – and arranged for a carriage to pick us up out front at a certain time. So at the appointed time the carriage pulled up and inside there was champagne in her favorite colored champagne flutes – cobalt blue. And the driver was playing a recording of her favorite song by her favorite artist – My Funny Valentine by Ricky Lee Jones.

And… there was more.

Once the couple was en route, Ed said, “It looks like it’s going to snow” and the driver began flinging fake snow over his shoulder to create a little “snowstorm.” Once they arrived at their picturesque destination in the park, Capelle surprised his girlfriend with an engagement ring and proposal – and even some pizza from a famous New York pizza parlor. (Also arranged by the Plaza Hotel personel).

“The people at the Plaza went above and beyond in helping me put this together. They were willing to do whatever I needed and there were no boundaries whatsoever. It made me feel great and I have stayed there many times since.”

For Capelle, a high level marketing consultant who works in the film and amusement park industries and travels extensively in Asia and the U.S., there have been many hits and misses when it comes to the hotel customer service over the years.

But he said the moral of the story is always the same: Hotels and their team have a choice when it comes to the impression they want to leave with guests. “Every time a hotel employee comes in contact with a guest either the brand gets polished or it gets tarnished. So the choice is: Do you want to polish the brand or tarnish it?”

“It’s up to the hotel how they want to monitor that. And if they don’t let every employee know how critically important they are in the larger picture of the brand, then they really lose out.”

With Zingle, a busines texting solution, Capelle’s great experience with the Plaza could have been even more fluid. His time spent in planning could have been reduced from three weeks to a matter of days or hours if he could have simply texted the hotel team his requests and received instant messages back. Rather than countless phone calls and messages and waiting for replies, there would have been a series of texts and responses with confirmation. There are specific solutions for texting the valet, the concierge, and for your food order also.

Still, Capelle says his Plaza experience was something he will never forget.

“I have stayed at the Plaza multiple times and it’s always been nice but this was an opportunity for the hotel to step out of the box and they really stepped out.”

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