Insider Exclusive: The 96-Cent Wow Factor: Leaving a Great Impression Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

Insider Exclusive: The 96-Cent Wow Factor: Leaving a Great Impression Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

Steve Miller

I’m on a business trip, getting ready to leave my room at the Kimpton Muse Hotel in Manhattan to attend morning meetings, when I notice my travel-size tube of toothpaste is almost empty. I squeeze it to get the last dollop out, brush my teeth, throw out the empty tube, and make a mental note to be sure to pick up some toothpaste before I return to the Muse—a small, boutique hotel about a block away from Times Square—later that night.

The meetings last all day, and of course I go to dinner afterward, so it’s 10:30 p.m. by the time I get back to my hotel. I get on the elevator, go up to my floor, and realize—just as I have my hand on the doorknob to my room—that I forgot to get more toothpaste.

“Aargh! It’s late and now I have to go out and find some toothpaste,” I grumble to myself.

I drop off my briefcase and start to head out again when I happen to glance into the bathroom. Lying on the counter is a new tube of toothpaste and a note from housekeeping that says, “Dear Mr. Miller, I saw that you were out of toothpaste. I didn’t want you to have to worry about it, so I took the liberty of replacing it for you. Hope you’re enjoying your stay. —Marsha.”

Wow! I’m in the business of wow, and yet I was wowed.

The hotel’s website states its branding promise: “Our thinking caps are always on as we imagine ways to keep things fresh and welcoming for you.”

For me, finding that toothpaste was a wow experience that showed me the hotel meant it when it said, “Our thinking caps are always on …” A little tube of toothpaste did all that!

What lesson can be learned from the Kimpton Muse Hotel? A richly imprinted experience wants to be repeated. It wants to be remembered. And it wants to be shared.

The more impressive of an experience you give people, the better results you will have. And all it might take is a 96-cent travel tube of toothpaste.

This article is adapted from Uncopyable: How to Create an Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition, by Steve Miller.

Steve Miller is known as Kelly’s dad and is a marketing gunslinger who has been a keynote speaker at ABA’s Annual Meeting & Marketplace. He is the author of Uncopyable: How to Create an Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition. To read two free chapters of Uncopyable, visit

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.


Melanie Hinton, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, ABA
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