Traveling as much as I do, I tend to experience much adventure within the travel industry. Last month, it was a plane that was diverted to Chicago because we were "taking on water," a phenomenon I would have thought more likely on a ship than something thirty thousand feet in the air. But when you are on road, you have to be prepared for the unexpected.
And flexible I had to be when I checked into my hotel in Toronto this week, armed with a discount rate from an Internet consolidator of hotel rooms. When I presented myself to the front desk clerk, she preceded the presentation of my room key with a disclaimer: "under this rate, you have no guarantee of the type of room." She then went on to deliver the happy news: I was being placed in a suite. Then the bad news: it was actually a meeting suite and didn't actually have a bed in it. I'd have to sleep on the couch. Apparently, the guarantee of a room was not accompanied by a similar one of a bed.
Now, the hotel was certainly apologetic, but I have to consider if the next time I use this Internet service (rhymes with Miceline.com) again, I will wonder if I'll be booked into a broom closet.
So my question to the Miceline.com people is: should you have set my expectations better when I made the reservation?
I have this debate with colleagues all the time. Is it better to under promise and over deliver or just simply do what you say you're going to do. Seth may say that in order to be "remarkable" you need to deliver more than you say, and I'd tend to agree. If you expect me to deliver you 10 muffins on Monday morning and instead I bring you a dozen, you're going to feel that I did something special. And you're going to remember me.
Others may say that it's disingenuous or sandbaggy (is that a word?) to purposefully deliver something different than you've committed to customers. My response: who cares? People live in a world where customer service is increasingly poor, while competition and churn is increasingly intense. If you have the opportunity to stand out, take it.