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The headline of the Ritz Carlton Web site reads, “Welcome to Ritz Carlton. How may we be of assistance?” That's awfully warm and welcoming for an exclusive luxury hotel, I thought.

The Ritz Carlton brand promise is also clearly and succinctly stated on their home page: “The finest personal service and facilities around the world.” So I thought I would put my professional branding hat on and check out the “finest personal service” for myself.

As those of you who travel extensively know, it is hard not to be blasé about a hotel stay. No matter how luxurious the accommodations, it's still not home. It's just the place where you keep your stuff in between flights.

Although I was tainted from years of going from point A to point B with a stay at hotel X in between, this journey was a bit more exciting for me. I am passionate about branding and wanted to see for myself why the Ritz Carlton brand is so often held up as the gold standard for customer service. (By the way, I have no affiliation with Ritz Carlton.)

I was able to witness some of their brand promise the moment I stepped in their New Orleans hotel.

I was greeted with a giant smile when I arrived at noon. To my delight, my room was ready.

The suite for the gentleman standing next to me, however, was not. He was asked if he wouldn't mind having a complimentary drink in the lounge. They said that they would take his luggage to his room and unpack it for him if he wanted and they would find him or call him on his cell phone as soon as his suite was ready. The registration manager was extremely apologetic despite the fact that the guest had arrived three hours before the scheduled check-in time.

Making my way from the lobby to my room, I realized that every detail about this hotel was p-e-r-f-e-c-t. I couldn't find a paint chip, a stain on a rug or a scratch in the furniture anywhere. The amenities were extraordinary—the furnishings consisted of perfectly restored antiques, the linen was from the exclusive Italian home wear company, Frette, the artwork was original 18th and 19th century oil paintings and elaborate, all-yellow fresh flower displays adorned virtually every surface.

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image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda