My colleague introduces me to the General Manager of the Taj hotel I have just checked into. They know each other from a management development seminar they had attended together; Guru Bhais they called each other.
“So, so you are his boss.?” says the GM.
“Yes Mr GM.”
“Ah, that’s very nice.”
“And he tells me you stay at our hotel pretty often.”
“I do, Mr GM.”
“Oh, that’s good. Now let me see. Mr Ojha, you said?”
“Yes, sir. Santosh Ojha. Santosh spelled without the ‘h’ after ‘t’.” This is Chennai, and I need to clarify this.
A few clicks of his desktop and he exclaims, “Mr Ojha! So you do like khichdi, don’t you?”
Khichdi, I blink, khichdi? Now how could he have got to know this? I am amazed, his computer stores such information as well! He had all the data on my previous visits over the last few years and he had already counted the number of times I had ordered khichdi for myself!
“Sir, please feel free to ask the room service for khichdi, as a matter of fact I shall personally place an order for you for tonight.”
Unfortunately for me, this is only an evening’s stay at the hotel and am going to my colleague’s house for dinner. Hopefully a plate of thair-saadam and pickles instead!
The bell-boy dispensed with, I scan the room to check out the lay of the land. I see a handwritten note on the study table with my name big and bold. “Welcome back, Mr Ojha. It is a pleasure to have you.. We know you love extra towels and we have kept some extra ones in the bathroom. Thank you. Your housekeeper.” So someone has been keeping a track of my habits. I do like using a fresh towel in a hotel whenever I take a wash.
I walk into the bathroom and there is a pile of towels of multiple sizes all right. Small hand towels in the side shelves under the wash-basin, slightly larger ones hanging from rings. The huge ones piled on a rack next to the shower. Yet another slung on the handle of the door to the shower-stall. Towels, towels everywhere! Good! And then I am accosted by another message from the hotel. A small tent card placed at a vantage point next to the wash basin. This one deals with the all-too-familiar message about environment protection and that each towel I leave aside to wash would waste several kilo-litres of water (besides, of course, adding hazardous chemicals to the water bodies).And how, like a well-behaved kid, I should leave all the towels alone. I feel a little less guilty when I read the rest of the list of crimes: Water wasted while brushing you teeth (I brush just once a day, so I waste only half the quantity of water compared with someone more inclined to dental hygiene) and while shaving (full marks for me, I always use a electric dry shaver!)
I make a silent pledge to carry my own towel from home the next time around so as not to be a burden on the eco-system anymore!
A PYT behind the counter as I check in, “Just your signature, sir, your visiting card and your date of birth and anniversary please.
I dutifully enter the information desired.
“Thank you sir.”
This has been the routine motion check-in after check-in. But I have yet to receive either an email or a card recognizing either of these two momentous days. And then I decide to test out the CRM intensity of the hotel. CRM, as you would have guessed by now, stands for Customer Relation Management.
So once I decide to record my date of birth as the day after my check-in. Pleased as punch I await birthday gifts to appear at the crack of dawn the next day. Starting maybe with a wake-up serenade from the anonymous and faceless (but I am sure, very pretty) lady at the wake-up service. Then maybe a comely lass with a bouquet of red roses instead of the moustachioed villain with the tea tray. However, no such luck.
Maybe they collect data on birthdays and anniversaries to support a demographic research!