Curiosity / 気づくこと (kizukukoto). The tendency or inclination to notice things, and the relevance to luxury services, as mentioned in the article, as analogous to very fine individual “fitting”, a salient feature of budo. In the context of an organization, this kind of curiosity behavior being encouraged, rewarded, and normalized is crucial for leadership to do.
Businesses design standard processes to make sure they get good ratings by checking all the boxes on the agencies’ lists. These ratings are then used by company marketing departments to impress customers, thereby driving volume and revenue. These ratings cannot be ignored. Get a bad one, and your competition will use it to sell against you.
However, trying to provide luxury service by implementing standardized processes that will ensure compliance, with checklists designed by third parties that do not know your business as you do, will inevitably fail to address individual customer needs. These kinds of checklists address the fundamentals of good service — but meeting the requirements of the ratings agencies with standardized processes will inevitably disappoint the individual that you, as a luxury business, most need.
Catering to the individual is what defines luxury; in the luxury segment, it is the critical competitive differentiator. The challenge for any business seeking to deliver a luxury experience is to be knowledgeable enough to go beyond the standard, to have hair spray for the person who needs it whether or not it’s on a checklist.
Curiosity is a quality we look for — and hire for — in staff. Without curious employees asking questions and listening to guests, we can’t get the information to build future dossiers: “What brings you to the hotel?” “What can we do to make your stay enjoyable?” And we reward employees who engage, making their successes part of our hotel’s oral culture.