Followers

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Impressing the General Manager

Years ago Prentice-Hall published The Man’s Health Book, and UPS delivered my ten free copies. Usually I gave those to family and friends. Except for my mother, no one read them, so I wondered if I could put them to better use. 

I decided to visit general managers of my ten biggest hotels, introduce myself, and impress them by handing over my new book. This qualified as aggressive marketing because I had never before approached a hotel employee.

I began my rounds up the street at the Century Plaza and JW Marriott. Then I drove to the San Fernando Valley to visit the Sheraton Universal and nearby Universal Hilton followed by the Hollywood Holiday Inn and Roosevelt, and then downtown.

At each, I approached the secretary in the executive office, identified myself as the hotel doctor, and asked for a minute of her boss’s time. I delivered my spiel, surrendered the book, and accepted their thanks. Some GMs expressed pleasure at finally meeting me, adding flattering words about the quality of my service. Others listened politely and thanked me for the book, but it was obvious they had no idea who I was.

I encountered a third reaction at the Los Angeles Downtown Hilton. The secretary had barely replaced her phone when the GM shot out of his office and hurried over. I began my spiel but he interrupted.

“What do you mean you’re our hotel doctor?” he shouted. “This hotel doesn’t have a doctor!”

“I’ve been coming for years….,” I said. When I checked later, I found I had made 119 visits which implied over 200 phone calls. The staff knew me; the valets never refused to hold my car (essential downtown).

“This hotel doesn’t have a doctor!” he repeated. “What do you mean calling yourself our doctor?”

“I’m not really your doctor,” I admitted. “But when a hotel calls so often…”

“You’re damned right you’re not our doctor. We don’t have a doctor. You’re not to call yourself our doctor!”

Flustered, I did something I still regret. I held out my book. He snatched it and disappeared back into his office. I could have made better use of that copy. A few days later the mail brought a certified letter from an attorney informing me that the Los Angeles Hilton did not require a physician and that I was hereafter forbidden to refer to myself as the Los Angeles Hilton’s doctor.

I stopped passing out books. I take for granted that no Los Angeles hotel familiar with my service can tolerate being without it for long. Although there’s some truth in this, seven years passed before the hotel, now the Wilshire-Grand, resumed calling.

No comments:

Post a Comment