Recently, Barbara and I had to make a quick trip to the Jacksonville, FL area for business. We were only going to be there one night and had a few hours to spare the following morning. Our grandson Vandin was traveling with us. He has been traveling with us since he was just a few months old and he is a great traveling partner. He can ride forever with no complaining. I had heard some people talk about Amelia Island and thought that maybe a visit to the beach would help him get some energy out.
I try to be a brand loyalist when traveling because I want to know what to expect when I arrive. I will fly Southwest and Delta almost exclusively and try to stay at Hilton branded hotels which include Hampton Inn. I reserved a room at the Hampton Inn near Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. Their site said it was one block from the beach, the price was reasonable and it looked convenient. What I did not expect was to have one of the best customer service experiences ever. Not just at a hotel, but anywhere. They made me want to come back. Some of the things I am going to mention I have seen at full-service hotels directly on the beach, but I have never experienced something like this at a moderately priced hotel with limited facilities.
They Love Kids
When we checked in, the attendant at the desk told us about breakfast and said they had a “treasure chest” for kids to choose a prize from in the morning. The next morning when we went down to breakfast Vandin saw the treasure chest on the front desk and headed straight there. The manager was on duty and started explaining to Vandin what he could get. The chest contained toys and books; not very expensive items but something to light up kid’s eyes. In the conversation, Vandin mentioned shark teeth and the manager said she had a collection. She proceeded to the back and came out wearing a shark hat, a box of shark teeth and a paper showing what each tooth was. She let him hold the teeth and gave him one of the description papers in case he found some on the beach. She made Vandin’s day.
Hampton Inn generally provides a limited hot breakfast. There are options to choose from but the options are usually out. While getting her and Vandin’s breakfast, Barbara walked up and asked Vandin if he wanted sausage. He said bacon but they did not have bacon out that day. The manager said they would get it for her if she would just ask the lady in charge of breakfast. Barbara did not want to be a bother so she did not ask. We all got a plate of food and went to eat. A couple of minutes after we sat down the lady brought out a plate full of fresh bacon. Vandin was happy. We were all happy. Bacon makes everything better. They did not have to do this, but that manager went out of her way to make our stay great.
This may have been the biggest surprise of all. They asked if we were headed to the beach and if so, they had most anything we would need. They had beach chairs, beach toys, beach towels, and sunscreen. All of it was FREE to use. When we got ready to go to the beach they took us to a closet and gave us some chairs and let Vandin pick out some beach toys. They gave us towels and sunscreen and we were ready. This did not cost us anything and made our 3-hour beach visit so much better. This also made me want to come back to this hotel the next chance I get to visit.
Great customer service will make people come back. It will also make the best advertisers in the world. I have written an entire blog about my experience. I encourage you to go out of your way to make things better for someone else. If you do that, your life will be immeasurably better as well.