36 and Counting Cultivating Positive Relationships Customer Service Empowerment Techniques Kudon'ts Kudos

Crested Butte’s Elevation Hotel and Spa: Rocky Mountain high and a few downers

Crested Butte holiday stay spotlights customer service peaks, valleys, continued
Kudos and Kudon’ts of 4 days in a glorious natural setting

Part 2, Staying: Lodging & Accommodations

Do sweat the small stuff” should be the mantra of hotel operators and a cornerstone of their customer service policies. Poor housekeeping, upkeep, and questionable logistics can ding an otherwise enjoyable experience in an appealing hotel. Such was the case with Crested Butte’s Elevation Hotel and Spa.

Elevation gets kudos for a friendly staff, caring demeanor, and a generous physical plant—including our room that included a combo microwave/oven, fridge, bar/dishes, and a safe. When I told the GM this visit was for two reasons—36th anniversary of my business and second anniversary of my first date with my girlfriend—he gave me an almost full bottle of wine from his free wine/cheese tasting event. This was unexpected and very much appreciated.

Its fitness center was one of the most well-equipped hotel facilities I’ve ever encountered. And while there were more dogs in residence than I’ve ever seen in a hotel, the hotel staff must have laid down the rules very firmly and convincingly—as unruly, incessantly barking animals were nowhere to be found or heard.

Kudon’ts fell mostly into inadequate knowledge and explanatory materials, and spotty, delayed room upkeep. The on-premises restaurant was officially an app-only facility. Patrons had to order their food online, then select either room service, pickup, or dine in. There were no servers, although the bartender took my order one night. The food was okay; however, the front desk didn’t know whether the protocol was to tip on top of the room service charge built into the app. The staffer said he’d never heard that question. What???????? To me, that is (or should be) very basic.

The front desk didn’t seem to know much about the restaurant’s protocols. This would have been okay if we had been so apprised upon check-in—but to the typical observer, 9380 was just another hotel restaurant. In fact, it was essentially a separate business. Trial-and-error was required to master the app (which didn’t always work); charges didn’t seem to be standardized (e.g., my order through the bartender was charged differently than the app).

One day, it took four requests to get housekeeping to clean our room. Granted, it was a busy checkout/check-in day over the Labor Day weekend. The coffee pot leaked. The tub/shower faucet was loose. The toilet paper roll didn’t work properly. The leading edge of the sliding screen door looked like a dog had munched on it. The in-room safe didn’t work. The bedspreads were shopworn. And, I had to borrow an extension cord for basic electronics connections because many of their plugs were virtually inaccessible behind heavy furniture.

Takeaways from this experience include:

  • Patrons also need to “sweat the small stuff” to help keep corporate America on its toes, and its facilities in good order. If nobody complains about a problem (e.g., inaccessible outlets), it well may not get fixed in a timely fashion. If multiple guests complain, it will register and hopefully get handled sooner. Patrons who just complain to themselves are as much a part of the customer service problem as the entity about which they’re complaining.
  • Facilities such as hotels need to do a better job policing their rooms, and identifying items that require attention. Some of this can be handled by housekeeping when cleaning the rooms, by making sure they complete a checklist of top-level items on a regular basis. On top of this, managers and staff need to inspect rooms more in-depth and troubleshoot (e.g., a manager checking our room for accessible outlets likely would have put in a work order for additional, easily reached capacity).

Overall score on a scale of 1 (lowest)-10 (highest) for Elevation Hotel and Spa in Crested Butte: 7.5. I would go back because the kudos outweigh the kudon’ts. And I would be more proactive about checking out our room before getting settled, to address those “little” issues that can become very annoying—especially as they start to add up.


Edited 9/22/18 corrected hotel name from Elevations Hotel to Elevation Hotel and Spa.


To be continued…watch for the next installment:

Crested Butte holiday stay spotlights customer service peaks, valleys, continued
Kudos and Kudon’ts of 4 days in a glorious natural setting
Part 3, Dining: Food & Beverage

ICYMI: Part 1



Mark Lusky is a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience. He is the author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage. AKA The Happy Curmudgeon, Mark is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm celebrating 36 years in business in 2018.

4 replies on “Crested Butte’s Elevation Hotel and Spa: Rocky Mountain high and a few downers”

Your point about customers who “complain to themselves” is a good one. Customer Service is a two-way street in that a business isn’t going to know what to improve if they don’t know what the issues to address are. Customer Satisfaction Surveys are an attempt to fill that need, however, speaking for myself, I usually don’t fill them out because it takes too much time to fill out a questionnaire filled with 1-10 responses that are not applicable to the issue. So speaking up at the time an issue crops up is critical.

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