I’m an assertive, bold, blunt, and direct person. I try to live within the bureaucracies I encounter, but I don’t always succeed.
I’m at SD West this week, where I did a half-day tutorial Monday and am presenting two classes (really talks) today. Before I speak/teach/consult, I like to eat a real breakfast, so I don’t go for the quick continental breakfast; I need to eat in the restaurant.
The hotel has a small-ish restaurant. The tables are are either set in two’s or four’s. (Why do hotels do that, when most business people travel alone?) So Tuesday, the wait for a table at 7:30 (peak breakfast time) was 10-15 minutes.
I was sure I could find a friendly face to eat with, so I told the hostess I would look for one. She was shocked and dismayed–and quite unsure what I was going to do. I didn’t recognize anyone, so I asked a gentleman sitting at a table by himself if I could join him. I offered to not talk to him if he wasn’t a morning person.
He agreed to let me join him, and we had a lovely conversation. We each left with slightly new perspectives.
Having breakfast with a complete stranger is not normal–even for me. But when the hotel imposes a structure that says breakfast must take 45 minutes (yes, it does), and we must seat people with whomever they arrived with, and we must not hurry anyone up, I have no more patience. Hotel breakfasts are not for lingering, certainly not for conference attendees.
The hotel has no idea what business they are–what product they are selling, if you prefer. Yes, part of their product is hospitality. But for conferences, a bigger part of their product is moving people through the system quickly.
When the hotel doesn’t provide me part of their product, I’m bold enough (or crazy enough) to make it happen. Any of your customers beyond bold for your products?