Guest Story: Celebrating Guests for Life

The employees of The Ritz-Carlton—known as our Ladies and Gentlemen—aim to craft unique, memorable and personal experiences that cultivate guests for life. This guest story illustrates how memories create powerful emotional ties. It was the particular pleasure of the Ladies and Gentlemen at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel to celebrate 30-year-old memories while creating new ones with a long-time guest.

A Message from Afar

The marketing team at Al Bustan Palace received a private message via Facebook from the daughter of a long-time guest. She explained that her mother was on her way to Oman for a visit that would coincide with her parents’ wedding anniversary. Her mother had chosen to stay at another property in town because the memory of her late father would be too difficult to handle at Al Bustan Palace. However, her mother could not imagine spending her wedding anniversary in any other place than the palace. Unfortunately, the daughter could not make it to Oman on that day, so she enlisted the help of the Ladies and Gentlemen to ensure a special and meaningful day for her mother.

With the call to action to create a memorable day at the hotel, the team at Al Bustan Palace immediately answered with enthusiasm. The Ladies and Gentlemen in marketing teamed up with the Assistant to the Executive Assistant Manager Rooms and Operations, known for her brilliant ideas and creativity, to surprise our guests. Together they reached out to the restaurant and spa teams and worked out a schedule for the mother’s visit to Al Bustan Palace.

A Meaningful Commemoration

On the date of her visit, a chauffeur, with a bouquet of flowers in hand, picked up the mother from her hotel and brought her to Al Bustan Palace. The Ladies and Gentlemen of the hotel lined the lobby and gave her a warm welcome. Among the employees in attendance was the Director of Conference Services, who has served at Al Bustan Palace for more than 30 years. The guest of honor paused when she saw him, and in a very emotional gesture, approached him with a large smile having recognized him from her many visits in the 1980s. The Director also recognized her and the two exchanged a few words, both touched by the emotional re-encounter.

The mother was then escorted to the newly opened Six Senses Spa, where she was given a tour and offered a facial. She spent the morning lounging and relaxing in the facilities overlooking the glittering Sea of Oman.

After her spa experience, the guest was taken to Al Khiran restaurant for lunch, where the entire team greeted her. The restaurant supervisor then joined other Ladies and Gentlemen in escorting her to her table. The guest remained speechless when she discovered her table, facing the Infinity pool and the sea, dressed with rose petals with a framed picture of her husband and herself at their wedding. She began to shed happy tears and the guest thanked the Ladies and Gentlemen profusely. Everyone was so happy to meet the long-time guest and be part of her special day. The restaurant supervisor uncorked a bottle of champagne to celebrate the moment, and the guest enjoyed it along with her lunch and sharing memories of her husband, their wedding and their children. The General Manager then joined the guest at her table with a cake as well as a “Welcome back to Oman” note.

Making New Memories

At the end of her special day, the guest, who now felt truly part of the Al Bustan Palace family, mentioned she intended to spend the next few days with an old friend of hers. Her friend had lived in Oman for many years as an expat, and sadly, her husband passed on a few months earlier. The two ladies were invited to come and enjoy dinner at Al Bustan Palace before leaving the country. A few days later, the guest returned to Al Bustan Palace with her friend for dinner on the beachfront at Beach Pavilion restaurant. The ladies were offered flowers and invited to dine in one of the restaurant’s private cabanas, where they spent the evening sharing memories of their years spent in Muscat, their husbands and families. Both expressed how much they enjoyed returning to Al Bustan Palace.

Before leaving, the guest’s friend requested to make a reservation for herself for a date in December. After hearing her friend’s wonderful wedding anniversary celebration, she decided she wanted to live the same moments and wished to be at Al Bustan Palace on her anniversary day as well.

The daughter who had originally reached out to Al Bustan Palace heard about the memorable visit and expressed her deep gratitude to the Ladies and Gentlemen for making her mother feel truly taken care of on this special day. As a result, she decided she would take her whole family to stay at Al Bustan Palace next summer, including her mother. Everyone at Al Bustan Palace was happy to hear the news and is looking very much forward to the family’s visit.

Genuine Connections

One of the Service Values at The Ritz-Carlton states “I build strong relationships and create Ritz-Carlton guests for life.” You can’t build strong relationships if your employees are on auto-pilot. Your employees need to be listening and engaging with your customers. The guest in the above story felt a genuine connection that lasted from her wedding day to her wedding anniversaries—creating a lifetime of cherished memories. 

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center offers advisory services, courses and presentations to organizations that wish to benchmark the award-winning business practices of The Ritz-Carlton. Your organization can learn about The Ritz-Carlton methodology for customer service, employee engagement and leadership development. We also guide organizations through a multi-step process in order to achieve sustainable culture transformation.