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As I entered my hotel suite on last week's business trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, I discovered the nicest note on my pillow. It was a simple message, but one that made the brand experience so positive. And it didn't cost a ton of money either.

What it did do was send a kind message to welcome me in a very atypical way. It wasn't a corporate thing; it was a local thing. And it made a huge difference in stay, right from the start. Here's what it said on a printed, laminated sheet:

To Our Guests
In ancient times there was a prayer for "The stranger within our gates."
Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people, and not solely a money-making organization, we hope that God will grant you peace and rest while you are under our roof.
May this suite and hotel be your "second" home. May those you love be near you in thoughts and dreams. Even though we may not get to know you, we hope that you will be comfortable and happy as if you were in your own house.
May the business that brought you our way prosper. May every call you make and every message you receive add to your joy. When you leave, may your journey be safe.
We are all travellers. From "birth till death" we travel between the eternities. May these days be pleasant for you, profitable for society, helpful for those you meet, and a joy to those who know and love you best.

Yes, it's a bit sappy if you're cynical, and spiritual if you're an agnostic. But it's so nice! That experience was only the beginning. A warm happy hour with free drinks followed, then a lovely dinner in their restaurant with clients, topped off by a full buffet breakfast (hot food made to order) the next morning with the chef standing around greeting guests.
No, this wasn't the Ritz. It was an Embassy Suites and they knew what they were doing.
Way to go Embassy Suites, Lincoln. By the way, room 807 is missing its laminated welcome message. Sorry. :(

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel