kimpton hotels dogs Last week I hopped a plane with my family and jetted off to northern California to enjoy a little wine, sunshine and together time. Near the end of our trip, we packed up and headed south to San Francisco. During an afternoon stroll I happened to wander into The Argonaut Hotel, which was right around the corner from mine.

Before I continue, let’s establish one thing. It’s fair to say I am a “dog person.” (Note: this is the understatement of the century.) While I don’t typically travel with my own dog, there have been times in my life when it has proven difficult to find a dog friendly hotel.

Immediately upon entering The Argonaut, I stumbled across this little sign welcoming, recognizing and celebrating the weekend’s four-footed guests. The Argonaut welcomes pets 200 pounds and under (yes 200, that’s not a typo), for free. Pets are treated to free perks like pet beds (available in various sizes), food and water bowls, and treats. The hotel even sponsors an annual “Howl’oween” event.

From their website:

Pet Friendly Hotels In San Francisco? The Argonaut Is A Dog’s Best Friend. We admit it, we wear our puppy love on our sleeves. Can you blame us? Who can resist those big brown eyes and wagging tails? So we know how hard it can be to leave your furry sidekick behind. That’s why the Argonaut Hotel has adopted a pet-friendly policy that not only welcomes your pet, but also includes no size restrictions or extra charges.

It would seem I have returned to Greenville to talk about a hotel where I wasn’t even a guest. Why? Because I believe we could all learn a little something from The Argonaut.

The following is a mashup of wise tidbits from Nelson Boswell, Rick Tate, Gary Comer and Walt Disney. Combined, it forms a pretty profound nugget of wisdom…

“Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than what they expect to get. Merely satisfying customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referral. Understand the factors that drive this customer revolution. Worry about being better; bigger will take care of itself. Think one customer at a time and take care of each one the best way you can. Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”

Know your customer. And know your competition. When the other guys are focused on simply meeting the basic needs of the customer, aim your energies and efforts on giving them that AND more. Find their sweet spot. Whether it comes in the form of a philanthropic perk with purchase, a dose of humor where it’s least expected or a simple welcome sign celebrating the customers you love (and the four-legged creatures they love)–remarkable is in the details.