Someone once said “God lives in the Details”. Well maybe God doesn’t but in the service business, the details are what separates the five star businesses from the rest of the crowd.

And here we were in Los Angeles, staying at a hotel that had over the past year become our home away from home.

It was our fourth visit to L.A. and our fourth stay with them – our first being the week after it opened – on the recommendation of a travel agent – as there were no reviews posted on line.

Now “our hotel” was ranked as a “five-star” property – and my wife and I were looking forward to our stay.

But right from the beginning, when I wanted to call the front desk because we’d been waiting for over 40 minutes for our bags to be delivered, and couldn’t because the directional tab was missing on the phone things the hotel’s star status was slowing but surely descending.

Now mind you, neither of these details was enough to jeopardize our returning to the hotel on our next visit to LA – but when combined with seven other little “niggles” that happened during the first 24 hours of our stay – “niggles” like the top of the hot water cap popping off, the air conditioner sounding like it needed a shot of WD-40 all purpose oil to silence the squeaking – all we needed was another “this really shouldn’t be happening in this hotel” niggle to set us into action.

And sure enough it was “niggle #10” that did the trick – we’d requested the room be “turned-down” at 8pm, returned at 11pm after a late dinner, and found the only thing that had been turned down was our request that the room be prepared for the evening.

So exhausted, we sat in the hotel lobby for forty-five minutes waiting for the room to be readied – just waiting to get back to the room where I’d write the hotel’s General Manager a “love” letter.

Why a “love” letter? Because I wanted two things.

1. To get this off my chest – after-all I’m paying my hard earned money and they weren’t delivering on the promise.

2. Give him a heads up that his hotel was having a systems breakdown – and that we were at a point of no return.

Frankly I liked the hotel, had promoted it to family and friends and not only wanted to return but was concerned that they’d actually stay here…on my recommendation…and experience what we were going through – strange as it may seem I had, on some level, developed a vested interest in the place.

So the next morning I left a hand-written note detailing exactly what we’d been experiencing – including being given a generic key card for the room, instead of the hotel’s usual branded card.

Sure enough I received a call on my mobile, an apology from the GM who said he’d read the note, apologized for what had occurred, assured me he’d make the rest of our stay right and invited me to meet him for coffee because he wanted to learn more.

Well he did make good on his promise – and while God may not live in the details – a darn good General Manager does.