Thursday, April 21, 2016

Legoland California Hotel & Park deliver a lot of value and if you plan it right, you don’t have to empty your wallet

The backside of Legoland California Hotel at park entrance


Legoland California Hotel ensures guests are ‘delighted’ 24/7.
There are many “deals & steals” out there for just about any place you want to visit on the planet. Buyer beware – some of those deals end up costing you later on. I was cautious as I researched and explored options for our family trip to Legoland California. I did not want to get nickled and dimed for things not included in the “deal”. I shared my approach to find the best deals for the Legoland Hotel, park tickets, transportation and airfare in this post.

I was happy with the overall cost of our family trip, and pleasantly surprised the whole experience surpassed our expectations.  We knew we would have fun and it might even be a little chaotic, but had no idea that everything is awesome.  I truly thought it was just a sentiment from The Lego Movie, but it truly is their reality.

I’d like to share some key highlights:

Legoland California Hotel nailed the customer experience.
You’ve seen one hotel; you’ve seen them all, right? Perhaps the difference between experiences at one hotel versus another is the number of stars it earned. Five star, high-end hotels down to 1 star motels and everything in between. Your perceived value is typically associated with how much you spent. Spend a lot; you expect quality rooms and service. Spend a nominal amount at a motel; the savings is the true value. You primarily expect clean rooms and little to no service.

Legoland California paid attention to the type of customers they were serving, families, and ensured the experience would be delightful throughout their whole journey. The journey begins with the first visit to the Legoland Hotel website. The journey never really ends, as they strive for customer loyalty and developing a long-term relationship with each customer.
Let me provide some examples:

1) The website streamlines the buyer behavior process   
     Similar to most hotel websites, they show photos and provide the information you need in order to make a purchase (book a room). That was expected. The additional information about the many other perks you can obtain (such as at the Park Resort, Water Park, Sea Life Aquarium, on-site birthday parties and membership) is a bonus to help someone on the fence to go ahead and book it. I found a room rate that was half of their typical rate. This was a big delight for me so I booked three nights.

2) Communications were regular and informative. The customer relationship is nurtured via email before the trip. Imagery of families grinning ear to ear on a rollercoaster builds excitement and anticipation, which reaffirms the post-decision and alleviates potential buyer’s remorse. There’s no way I would cancel.

3) Check-in Process was painless – no detail was left unturned for what could become a chaotic mess when you’re talking about 300+ families coming and going on a daily basis. The Legoland Hotel streamlined the process to make it easy and fast to check-in, which happens to be one of the biggest pain points at many hotels. I never saw more than 1 or 2 people waiting in the lobby, at any given time of the day. If you arrive prior to the 4pm check-in, they graciously provide you everything you need to know about the resort and hotel, check your bags and text or call you when your room key is ready for pick up. You don’t have to worry about a thing – you simply go about your day experiencing the park.

·      4) Hotel Design was brilliantly planned.  It’s not just the kids that go “wow!” when they arrive at the Hotel; it’s the whole family.  

      Amazing Lego structures are on display everywhere, which is a fun part of the décor of course.  The brilliance is in the “brick pits” in the lobby area.  Kids just dive in and start building. This is an ideal way to immerse in the experience as soon as you arrive and throughout your stay.  If your kids don’t like to build Legos, then you’re staying at the wrong hotel and visiting the wrong theme park.  

Hotel Rooms are themed (adventure, pirate, kingdom and Lego friends) and have free Wifi. It’s a kid’s paradise and provides ample separation for the parents. We were fortunate to have an ocean view to our left and Legoland Park straight ahead. Another delight. Each hotel room has a treasure chest filled with small Lego kits. The combination to the treasure chest can be decoded by finding clues in the hotel lobby. The extra amenities (free bottled water, coffee, juice) and Legos to play with in the room, are another delight and nice touch.

Breakfast is included in the price
. There are breakfast buffets and then there is the Legoland Hotel breakfast buffet – one for adults and one for kids. The buffets have every selection you would find on a breakfast menu, and then some. Omelettes and eggs made any way you’d like, to waffles, pancakes, smoothies, bacon, sausage, turkey bacon, hashbrowns, bagels/toast, fruit, oatmeal, cereal and more. It is all you can eat and it is a perfect way to obtain the fuel you need to spend the day at Legoland Park.

There is an outdoor heated pool with large foam Lego bricks to play with. The whole area turns into an outdoor movie theater at night.

Disco balls are in the elevators, and play different songs each time you ride. No, it never gets old because you can’t help but dance and exit the elevator smiling.

Hotel guests have early access to Legoland Park every morning (1 hour prior to the general public). Another delight!

There are many elements and "little things" that add up to a fun and amazing experience. That's the difference.  When you stay at the Legoland Hotel you become completely immersed into the “fun” mindset and you realize you never want to leave. Why can’t every day be this fun and exciting?!
·      
        5) Social media channels – employees do listen and respond.  Relationships continue to nurture across the social web.  I tweeted and they responded within minutes.  Once again, consistency in communications throughout the customer journey.


Those are just some of the ways the Legoland California Hotel delivers value. 
However the most important element that is key for sustainability and loyalty is the staff, known as “Model Citizens”.  The investment in hiring and training the right people to execute Legoland’s vision and mission has paid off.  I wasn’t surprised to discover that Model Citizens are trained by The Disney Institute.
I can honestly say that every person I interacted with at the Hotel and at the Park, were exemplary.  They provide the best consistent customer service I have ever experienced, anywhere. For four days, I was actually looking for exceptions to the great service because I didn’t believe it could be executable and sustainable 100% of the time. People have bad days, even “Model Citizens”. I was bound to find someone being a jerk, or less than kind to a guest.  I can honestly say it never happened.

Why is that remarkable?  If you think about this hotel and park becoming a mecca for families, and that the majority of families typically have more than one kid, there are bound to be meltdowns and tantrums.  Parents become frustrated and annoyed and experiences sour.  Yet the staff never let any of that impact the service they were delivering.  I find that remarkable and I chalk it up to “delivering wow! experiences”.  It’s hard to please the masses but Legoland California Hotel & Resort discovered/created/refined a formula that works. 

The afterglow of our family experience still exists two weeks later. I’m sure it will continue, as I remain a loyal customer moving forward. That is the power of delivering value that matters to your audience.