Thursday, June 21, 2012

Waiting for the Second Call

“This is the Shore hotel.”

This sounds routine, but it brought joy to my heart. It was a first call!... I almost never acquire new hotels, and the Shore, an upscale, boutique on the Santa Monica beach, opened last October.

I and my rivals keep an eye on new construction. As the opening nears, more aggressive hotel doctors approach the general manager or visit the lobby to extol their virtues to the staff. I send a dignified letter of introduction to the GM. This rarely works, but after more letters and the passage of time – years or perhaps a decade or two – calls materialize.

Before leaving the Shore, I stopped at the front desk to introduce myself, give thanks for the referral, and pass out business cards. The clerks responded with enthusiasm, accepted my cards, and promised to keep me in mind, but it was clear they had no idea who I was. When asked who had contacted me, they scratched their heads, consulted colleagues, and admitted they had no idea.

This reminded me that, over thirty years, every Los Angeles hotel has called for the first time. These always excite me, but it’s surprising how often they never call again. A hotel’s first call means little; if I get a second, more follow.  

After two weeks, it’s too early to give up on the Shore, but the tension is rising.

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