Learning Life Lessons from a Hotel

Gail and I recently stayed at a beautiful new hotel in northern Michigan. From the moment we arrived, it was clear that every staff member was alert for opportunities to demonstrate respect for each guest, in routine—and also unique and unexpected—ways.

While we were there a guest had an urgent need for eye drops, but the front desk didn’t have them on hand, so the woman returned to her room. Thirty minutes later there was a knock on the guest’s door; to her great relief and surprise, a staff member had driven to a local pharmacy and purchased eye drops for her! This left a very strong—and positive—impression on her.

The hotel’s philosophy is “showing respect to every guest and expecting every guest to show respect in return.” This philosophy has proven to make every guest very pleased with their stay.

On our first evening there, the guests next to us were disruptively loud and active. Even without our input the staff observed this behavior and the next two days were more calm and relaxing for us. We didn’t need to say a word. The perceptiveness and influence of the staff became very evident.

Every night we were provided with a turndown of our linens and a few chocolates at our bedside, along with a selection of calming music reminiscent of the waves washing over the nearby beach. What we learned later was that the housekeeping staff paid close attention to our likes and dislikes, in anticipation of a return visit. When that occurs I expect that we’ll find the temperature in our room set to our comfort, and the refrigerator stocked with the refreshments we enjoy.

Beyond the intentional training the staff has received, however, I sensed that they really enjoyed treating others this way. They took great satisfaction in treating us with dignity and respect in order to increase our comfort and enjoyment.

What we experienced in this hotel resembles my vision of how we, as believers, need to be treating others around us every day. When we demonstrate this kind of respect, dignity, service, and attention to detail, it is much more likely that others will want to know more about the One who is in us who gives us the ability to care for others in this manner.

I am certain that this new hotel will experience a high percentage of guests returning year after year. I am equally certain that if we as believers treated others in a similar way, we would see many coming to Christ.

If we’re paying attention, we can learn new life lessons everywhere we go, even a hotel.

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