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How Ritz-Carlton Maintains its Mystique

The luxury hotel chain reinforces customer-service values among employees by investing in daily training that revolves around storytelling

When you think of luxury hotels, a few brands come to mind. Among them is the Ritz-Carlton (MAR). The hotel has established a worldwide reputation for treating guests like royalty. Walk into any Ritz-Carlton hotel in the world and you will be greeted by a staff that works at making customer service an art. Every employee, from the valet to the front desk attendant to the waiter to the housekeeper, is warm, friendly, gracious, courteous, and genuinely seems eager to make sure your stay is a memorable one.

As I learned recently during an interview with Ritz-Carlton president and chief operating officer Simon Cooper, the company's mystique relies primarily on the Ritz-Carlton's 35,000 employees who create "unique and memorable" experiences for their guests. According to Cooper, "It's all about people. Nobody has an emotional experience with a thing. We're appealing to emotions." The goal, Cooper says, is to develop such a strong emotional engagement between the hotels' staff and their guests that "a guest will not consider staying anywhere else, if they have an option."