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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

How to Skyrocket Your ROI.




I previously introduced the idea of giving to others so generously that your brand and reputation are fueled by joy and engagement. This topic was spurred by Will Guidara and his book Unreasonable Hospitality. (A must-read if you care about blowing the minds of your customers!)


As promised, I want to discuss the ROI of “Unreasonable Hospitality.” I spent a lot of time researching the topic, and then found myself lying awake at night, thinking… “There is something wrong about why I am feeling the need to justify the ROI of generosity.” 


Do we smile at our neighbors so that they will feed our cats when we go away? Do we open the door for another, or buy a stranger coffee, because we intend to pitch them a sales line?  


No, these acts of kindness, or generosity, are founded in the human desire to connect and give with no expectation of return. We do it because it makes us feel good and is in service to another. It is this quality that makes us human, creating a sense of belonging and community. 


Yet… There is a business upside.


  • Create a team culture of engagement, retention, and empowerment.

  • Promote a company reputation of service and excellence.

  • Word-of-mouth marketing is free: Customers who share your stories of hospitality are your best marketers.


“92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.” Nielsen study


  • 9/10 Millennials are drawn to working with and buying from, purpose-driven brands and companies that are equally focused on social impact and profit.


How do you do this?


Guidara breaks down the “95/5 rule”: meticulously monitor, account for, and manage 95% of your company’s expenses. Become lean and focused. The last 5% is left for “foolish” giving. Creating experiences, shocking customers, and delighting your team.


This is foolish spending with a controlled narrative - smart and crazy, all at the same time!


Success requires developing a mindset, and seeing through the lens of surprising generosity. How can I elevate this experience? What would bring an unexpected smile? How can I outperform expectations?


In reflection, Guidara says, “... make the people we worked with and the people we served feel seen and heard: to give them a sense of belonging and to create an environment where they could connect with others.” 


Developing ideas:


Give how you would like to receive - in crafting these exceptional experiences, reverse engineer the process. As a client, patient, or customer, what do YOU want to feel and experience? Put yourself in the other’s shoes and imagine what “delight” would look or feel like. This is the “problem” you are solving.


Now, brainstorm the Solution


  • If your answer is value, surprise with a service or product priced at wholesale or provide a free upgrade. How would you feel if your hotel upgraded you without asking? Would you tell someone else?

  • If the answer is appreciation, send a handwritten note, a custom gift, or a shout-out on social media. I have kept handwritten notes that I received over 20 years ago, and this is also what Jack Welch attributed much of his success to.

  • If the answer is a connection, make a point to remember small details: birthdays, special events, favorite restaurants, or favorite food. When the time comes, surprise the other with a gift of congratulations or appreciation. If I learn that your favorite flower is a daisy, I might bring you a bouquet from my garden as they bloom.


These gestures can be big or small, and many times free. It is the thought that is invaluable.


“The value of a gift isn’t about what went into giving it, but how the person receiving it feels.”- Guidara



My Challenge to You:


  • Bake this idea into your team culture. Socialize and empower your team to become part of the experience. Brainstorm a future in which all customers rave, and are overcome with joy and unexpected delight.

  • Write down creative ideas, or small details, about others as they emerge. Keep this list visible and relevant.

  • Create a budget for “unexpected delights.” (95/5 rule) - this allows you to give without trepidation. 

  • Curate successes to share with your team. Celebrate wildly and publicly.

  • Integrate this vision by giving autonomy to your team. Set the guardrails and then allow them creative license to innovate. Soon this obsession to delight will go viral! 

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