As a Presentation & Pitching Skills speaker and trainer, one of my simple client messages is always try and be a little different. Not ‘gimmicky’ different, just do the little things a little differently to your competitors, so your pitch or presentation stands out from the pack. Usually it is those little things that make a difference and are remembered and appreciated by your audience.

This message was brought home to me a few weeks ago as I traveled to Auckland for a speaking gig and stayed in a cute boutique hotel opposite Princes Wharf waterfront area – the hotel is the M Social…and it is now my favourite hotel in Auckland. Here’s why…

As a person who works in the conference industry, I stay in a lot of hotels. Over the years you start to notice that some hotels simply do things better than others.

On the whole, most hotel rooms are all very similar – bed, shower, little soaps, 5 different sizes of hand towels, large TV screen, way too many pillows, light switches you can’t find, air-con units that you need a Mechanical Engineering degree to operate, mini-bars with over-priced tiny Coke cans, coat-hangers that you can’t remove from the coat-rail because most hotels are clearly worried you are going to steal them (honestly, who steals coat hangers?) and giant ironing boards that take up the whole wardrobe.

Most hotel rooms are fairly inter-changeable. So as a business traveler, I do notice when things are different.

Until my recent stay at the M Social, one thing I had never really paid any attention to is the message on the TV screen when you first enter your room. You know the one I am referring to? The usually generic, bland screen with the hotel logo or a photo of the swimming pool lit up at night, that says “Welcome Mr Klein (I always assume they are talking about my Dad, way too formal for me). We Hope you Enjoy Your Stay” (or words to that effect). I’ve never paid much attention to it and I usually grab the TV remote and flick on the tele.

But the one at the M Social caught my eye, simply because it was a little different, it had a bit of personality, a bit of fun and no hotel branding. It featured a colourful, arty picture of a guy in a bow tie with quirky font (I’m a sucker for non-standard fonts) and it said more or less the same as any TV Welcome Screen message, but in a slightly less formulaic wording.

Welcome Andrew Klein. It must be fate that brought you here and we are very glad to have you. Kick back, have a great stay”. Same message just presented a little differently to everyone else. I’m guessing most hotels have given little or no thought to their TV Welcome screens in years. But clearly someone at this hotel has thought “Lets do this differently!”.

I’ve also subsequently discovered that the painted message on the wall surrounding the TV screen (mine read “EAT. SLEEP. SAIL. FISH”) are different in every room. Fun, quirky life messages.

Cost? $0.

The TV Welcome message was typical of the relaxed, colourful, quirky way the hotel has been renovated. Scrabble tiles for signage. Brightly coloured murals on the corridor walls. Hotel reception staff dressed professionally but a little more casually, and slightly more modern furnishings than at most hotels. Plus the staff were incredibly friendly. I spoke to a few other conference attendees staying at the hotel and each one of them noticed the creative little touches.

Whether it is a hotel TV Welcome Screen note or the way you present or pitch, it is the little touches of difference, of personality, of authenticity, of creativity that will be remembered and appreciated and that can make a big difference.

I’ll stay there again.


Andrew Klein is a Pitching Skills and Presentation Skills speaker and trainer and a Conference MC. He has stayed in lots of hotels over the years and has never yet stolen a coat-hanger. Also, he prefers being called “Andrew” rather than “Mr Klein”.

“Mr Klein” is his Dad (who has also, to the best of Andrew’s knowledge, never stolen a coat-hanger).