Coming home to Shangri-La's and my expectation(s)
06 December 2015
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I was a member of this prestigious Golden Circle Loyalty Program. I enjoyed every minute of it when I stayed in Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and both Kota Kinabalu premises. The membership (although mine was at lower tier) gave me the insight of how members should be treated by staff in Shangri-La’s chain. I remember one sweet moment when I was upgraded to a higher room category and welcomed to use the club lounge facilities. Staff never failed to address me by my name and to add to that ‘magic’, I was only in my 20’s but they treated me as one VVIP customer. No heart feelings, I was still a student when I stayed in Shangri-La Bangkok. They never ever treated me as ‘little child’. I didn’t have any fix income at that time, oh, not to mention I had no credit card. I paid my room using cash and the staff counted the notes with big smile and still said thank you for countless times. Of all the stays, I can safely say, 0 flaws by all aspects. Once staff recognized me as a Golden Circle member (even with 0 points-in the beginning), they will surely ‘open their arms’ and welcomed me. How thoughtful yeah!
Graduating means getting a good job and unfortunately for me, I had to obey the ‘boss’ order to use another loyalty program. I got myself into that ‘another’ membership for few years and had to keep quiet whenever I saw a Shangri-La in front of me. Honestly, that new program I had to be in was fantastic as well with the exception of some negative perception by minority of hotel staff towards local guests. In 2015, I resigned from my job and decided to be a ‘little’ business man, a full time writer, a blogger or simply put doing freelance. I enjoy the freedom; I can ‘fly’ as far as I want to, with no force from the big bosses. Few days ago, I bumped into the Golden Circle website and it came to my mind that I must once again enroll in this program. Oh yes, I did and the first thing that I did after that-write a simple article for the inner circle publication. 2 hours before I wrote this article, I found my first entry being published. Oh is not that the nicest thing to start with my new career? And best of all, I am now the Golden Circle member again after 15 years or so.
Wait a minute…is that first article of mine entitled me to get the 2 nights free? Ghee, I really don’t know. I have yet to receive any email or call regarding to it so I presumed maybe it is just a line up for possible winners. If I do win, oh, which premise will I choose? I will think of that later when someone confirms that it ‘is my day’. All right, enough with that...now back to the loyalty program. What do I expect from this program when I start to spend nights in the Shangri-La’s? What do I expect from the hotel staff when I check in? This is what my mind tells me. Go to a local Shangri-La first, in Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur or Penang. See if the staff honored local guests. See if they offer the best smile and positive working attitude. Need the internet? Oh let us see what the staff can do for me regarding this very important issue, internet line. Is it going to be included or payable..If payable, is it super fast?
Will they still address me by my name? Am I going to get that sweet and big smile again if I decide to pay my room using cash (again?) and does Shangri-La’s have their own pillow menu? I really don’t know as I have never stay in any Shangri-La since 2002. Once, the program had offerings such as a choice of airport pick up or room upgrade and things like that…am I expecting this? Not really. So what do I expect actually? All that I need are, equal services by staff regardless the clients’ origins. Big smiles, attentiveness towards my smallest requests, if they have to say no, do it gently and politely. That is all. All other amenities and extra products are just bonuses. What about the loyalty program? Well, keep pouring in good things for members and we will stick like being glued forever and ever. Come 2016 onwards, not only the Shangri-La(s) will keep welcoming me, it will be me actually, welcoming the brand into my soul. Golden Circle and Shangri-La(s), see you guys soon. I am coming home!