+Scott Watson

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Influence And Persuasion - Don't Get Caught Out

The ability and willingness to influence and persuade other human beings is a wonderful skill to possess.  Each and every day, we are being influenced whether we realise it or not.

Here's a quick example of influencing and persuasion in action.  We'll take a hotel booking for this example.  Have a think about this so you don't get caught out.

So, you're booking a hotel for your next holiday.  You explore holiday sites online and notice that the rates are so competitive, unreservedly low and you're wondering to yourself 'WOW, this is fantastic, I think I'll be booking'.  But, sure enough, the initial elation turns in to despondency soon after.  And here's why...

The room rates initially offered are starting prices and not final prices.  Ah, you want a sea view room?  Oh, a balcony too eh?  My goodness, that's going to cost you.  And it does!  But you continue.

The rate was for a room only basis. But you'll want feeding, at least breakfast.  And for how many travellers?  Add these fees on to your 'low initial price'.

So, you arrive at the rather nice 4* hotel and are greeted by a welcoming receptionist.  Before you know it, a bellboy has grabbed your luggage, popped them on to a trolley and awaits your departure to your room so he can follow you.  Well, wouldn't it be rude of you to ask for your luggage to be taken off the trolley and returned to you after the so very helpful bellboy has 'been so helpful'.

Get this - He's not being helpful, he's generating income through your tips.  He's gone straight for you as his next customer while your attention is on checking in after your journey.

And, have you noticed that when the check-in receptionist hands you the key/swipe card for your room, you just accept it?  Why do you do this?  It's an automatic, culturally accepted response where you can immediately lose out.  BIG STYLE!  Why simply accept this behaviour, which is simply a 'Go Away' signal from even the best hotels.

If you reached your room and found that it didn't represent what the web site or brochures had indicated, isn't it far more difficult to return to reception to ask for another room?  You've been seen to 'accept' something you've never even seen simply by taking the key.  And you can't even ask your bellboy to sort the problem out as he's soon disappeared (after waiting for your tip).

Lesson?  ALWAYS ask the receptionist 'Which is a better room that is available for the duration of our visit?'  Hotels ALWAYS hold the best rooms back in the hope they can up-sell guests.

So, you're settled in to your room and you fancy a drink.  Oh, there's the mini bar.  You explore the fridge, remove a couple of bottles and return both of them, choosing to visit the poolside bar instead.  But, what you didn't realise was that as soon as an item is removed from the mini bar, it's electronically swiped (as if you had consumed it).  Even if you don't consume the items and return them to the fridge, it doesn't matter.  REFUNDS DON'T HAPPEN!

Now, how about calling home and letting the family know you arrived safely?  There's a phone right by the bed.  And it'll cost you up to 4 times more than a normal landline outside of the hotel to make a call.  Gotcha!

Why not lay back and watch one of the many films available through your television?  They're £7 to £10 per day.  Here's the thing, these prices make the film available for 24 hours - just in case you want to watch the films numerous times.

Room Service?  Make sure that you grab your tray at your door rather than letting the server in to your room.  When they're in your room, they're in your room.  This is where pressure for you to tip comes in to play.

I recently enjoyed a family break in Durham with my family.  As a member of the hotel's loyalty programme we were upgraded to an Executive room. Part of this deal was 'Free Drinks Between 5pm and 7pm.  Thankfully, the range of drinks available included my favourite beer Peroni.

Watch what happens next.  The beer is served in 330 cl bottles, just over half a pint.  It is served in a small glass.   Imagine the shock on the barman's face when I asked for a pint glass and 2 bottles of Peroni.  'Ah, we can't give you a pint glass for Peroni sir' was the claim.  When I enquired why not he replied 'It's not our policy'.

See, you can have something for 'FREE', but you're really not flavour of the week if you want to drink the FREE drink out of a glass larger than they want to offer.  Perhaps their thinking is that if the guest has a smaller glass, they're likely to drink more slowly?

So, have a think about how you're being influenced on a daily basis.  You could lose out if you're not careful.


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