The Bentley and The Butler

Last week in San Francisco my wife and I dined with my mentor, Alan Weiss, and two other world-class consultants, at the fabulous AME restaurant at the St. Regis Hotel.

Outside the Hotel’s lobby sat a gorgeous Bentley limo. The Bentley is offered as complimentary transportation for the Hotel’s guests. I’ve seen other high-end Hotels offer cars like Rolls Royce’s and Maseratis. High-end cruise ships will often offer you Butler at your beck and call.

Many organizations reserve these lavish perks for their top-spending customers. However, the companies that utilize this strategy most effectively are the ones who make these luxury perks available to most, if not all, of their clients.

The genius of this strategy is when you realize that the total amount they’re spending amounts to about 3% per guest, for an experience that will make up 90% of the guests memories and conversation pieces about their experience with you. Pretty cheap marketing with pretty effective results.

And by the way – do you think that having these luxury experiences makes people less price sensitive? Of course it does! This doesn’t mean these lavish perks should be freely given to every customer, but you should show every customer they’re available and how to access them. You don’t need to tie “experiential” rewards to a specific spend threshold or customer value. Instead, show them a very easy path or way to access those perks.

A lot of companies try to find ways to create discounts or cheap promotions for customers in exchange for their continued business, in the hopes that it will create loyalty and positive associations. The harsh truth is that nobody cares about those, and in fact they’re often forgotten before the transaction is finished.

Today’s Thinking Point: What could you add to your customer’s experience that makes it an experience worth talking about?

Nobody wants to talk about saving $100, but everyone wants to talk about the Bentley and the Butler.