Bridges and Troubled Water – a Wake Up call


This could be read as a kind of wake up call.

If you’ve ever been to Copenhagen in Denmark you may well recognise the picture associated with this blog…

It’s an evening view of Nyhavn, a 17th Century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in the city. Nyhavn means “New Harbour”.

It’s a lovely and lively area to wander around, during the daytime and at night. Lined with colourful townhouses it also hosts a string of bars and restaurants, a popular place for tourists and locals alike.

My wife and I almost had lunch there during a short-break visit to Copenhagen. We went to a restaurant which was very busy but managed to get a seat. We even got to order our food. And that’s as far as we got.

The reason? Customer service.

So, here was the thing. We saw that other diners had glasses of tap water on their tables. We asked for the same.

The response from the waiter? No, we couldn’t have tap water!

“Why not?”, we asked (pointing to the other tables).

The reply?… “Ah, but those people have ordered wine with their meal. So they can have tap water. As you’re not ordering any wine you can only have bottled water.” (And, of course, there would be a charge for that).

We were incredulous. We were almost speechless.

But we did find some words to say…

“Well, in that case, cancel our food. We’re leaving.” And we got up to walk out.

The waiter thought we were joking. We assured him we were not.

We do usually have wine with a meal but on this day, that lunchtime we did not. We had never come across somewhere with such a strict water policy.

Was it the finest, most exquisite, most expensive place in town? No, it was not. The food looked great but it was not michelin star or equivalent level.

We just thought that was a stupid way to treat customers and we voted with our feet.

The restaurant may have taken our action as a wake up call. But I doubt it.

We didn’t go hungry. We dropped into two cafes during the afternoon and indulged in some fine coffee and cake.

And who should we spot at one of the cafes?… The actor John Lithgow, star of numerous movies (including Terms of Endearment, Cliffhanger, Raising Cain, The Pelican Brief, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Interstellar) and the brilliant hit TV comedy series Third Rock From the Sun.

Copehhagen has many attractions and large waterfronts, many bridges and some stylish architecture. It’s a great city to walk or cycle around.

And whereas one restaurant got it wrong (in my opinion) there’s no doubting the place where we stayed got it absolutely right.

The Wake Up Copenhagen offers budget accommodation in the heart of the city. It’s part of the Wake Up chain.

What was so cool about it? Well, location was excellent, a short walk away from the main centre and close to the riverside. You could book a choice of rooms – the higher the room (and therefore better your view) the more you pay.

The rooms are generally small but cleverly designed. So, your room has a double bed, storage underneath, a small desk or table and chairs plus a combined shower, washbasin and loo area (in the same room but not quite en-suite). For a few nights, and if you’re spending most of your day out, then it’s more than sufficient. I believe you can also book larger rooms for an additional charge. So plenty of choice and flexibility.

The stay included breakfast and it was an excellent breakfast. Fresh, lovely food to set you up for the day. Better food than you find in some much more expensive hotels.

Lastly and most importantly, the staff were fantastic. Friendly, welcoming and helpful. We were so fascinated with a stylish chair in the lobby area that we asked reception where they got it from. Staff took the trouble to find out for us.

I can barely remember the restaurant we skipped. I always remember our stay at Wake Up. And guess how many friends and colleagues we tell about this budget hotel?

Marketing is not just about advertising. It’s about how you present your business.

Word of mouth recommendation remains the most powerful form of marketing on this planet. You only have to look at the rise of review sites like Trip Advisor to see how influential the traveller’s experience can be.

Is the way you treat your customers and clients losing you money?

And if so, what can you do to change things so it starts to make you more popular and more cash rich?

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