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August 17, 2005


Simon Cooper headed up Delta Hotels in the late 80's/early 90's (now a separate Canadian brand of Fairmont/CP); last I heard he was a senior executive for Marriott in the U.S. He also was a fellow graduate of the Executive MBA program I participated in and often was asked to speak at UofToronto MBA events.

Simon would talk about the hotel business and how his greatest fear was that the lowest paid employees were the ones in contact with his customers. So he made sure that all employees working with customers were empowered to make decisions that would cause customers to return. I personally experienced this several times -- for instance, once when I mentioned the poor service in a restaurant, my bill for that meal was immediately and spontaneously zeroed out by the desk clerk. Two points:
1. Leadership must create an environment where the employees feel comfortable (and empowered) making these decisions.
2. The employee motivation that arises from that empowerment probably far outweighs any increase in compensation they could receive.

Simon set a standard by which I have gone on to measure hotels and my desire to return.

Rick, how about tagging this post so when I'm looking for a hotel recommendation I can find it (maybe on Technorati) along with a recommendation from someone who's opinion I respect. Stephen O'Grady ( of redmonk fame is grass rooting for the same thing on Flickr using 'poweroutlet' to locate AC power at airports. (

I sent this url and the referring url (DailyPundit's post) to Embassy Suites, letting them know that this has influenced the choice of my next hotel stay.

The future.

It's here.

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