Yesterday, we said goodbye to a lovely couple who had been here for their first visit, although they assure us they can't wait to come back.
Catherine said that one particular thing had really touched her, and impressed - it was that from the moment they arrived, we'd called them by their name. She said that they'd visited a similar high-quality B&B in the Lake District regularly for several years now, and that they had never once, in all their visits, been addressed by their names.
I think this is important on a number of levels. Our name is a precious thing, for sure. I get really cross when people reply to my email (signed by 'Jeff') with 'Hi Geoff' - and I'm amazed at how often it happens. What's the matter with you?!
But in hospitality, where our purpose is to make you feel valued, special, respected and cared for, there really is no excuse for a business not making an effort to learn, and use, guests' names. It's common courtesy, as much as good business!
So if you have a nice B&B in the Lake District and you don't see Catherine again, you now know why. Oh wait - you don't know who Catherine is...