The Brilliance of Westin’s Gear Lending

I like to believe we’re like most people. We try to take a vacation once a year, and a couple of times a year we get away for a weekend.

We used to stay exclusively in IHG hotels (e.g. Holiday Inn). I’ve been a member of their Priority Club (now IHG Rewards Club) since its inception in 1983.  From Holiday Inn Express to Intercontinental Hotels, we’ve stayed in a lot of IHG properties.  And we’ve generally enjoyed the experience.

Recently we’ve found ourselves staying at Westin Hotels. I’m not sure when it began but over the past year, we’ve stayed almost exclusively at Starwood Hotels (and mostly at Westin Hotels).


You may have heard by now that Westin Hotels have a workout gear lending program at their hotels. Westin is encouraging you to “Pack Light, Stay Fit”. They also run ads promoting their “Eat Well SuperFoods RX menus”.

I’m an avid runner, and I really enjoy running in cities I visit when on vacation. And because I’m on vacation, I usually indulge in foods I wouldn’t normally at home. To find a healthy food oasis at my hotel is a real treat.

This is a brilliant positioning and marketing move by Westin. While I’m not likely to take them up on their gear lending program, and I’m more likely to enjoy a Peameal Sandwich in Toronto than a superfood salad, the mere fact that they are available tells me that Westin understands me and my needs.

But that’s not all. Because they focus on what’s important to me in my everyday life, I expect they’ll understand my needs better than the average hotel when I travel.

Best of all, I know because they’re focused on people like me, I’m likely to find people like me at their hotels. And who doesn’t want to be with people like me?

Westin launched their “Six Pillars of Well-Being” for guests and employees in 2014. Do you think perhaps that their employees not only understand me but also are likely to me like me? You bet.

This is a wonderful example of a corporate valuable corporate initiative. Westin has immersed their culture in healthy living. Their employees benefit, their guests benefit, and you can bet their investors benefit.

Oh, and by-the-way, you simply must try the aptly named “Heavenly Bed”.  You may not want to come home.

So, here’s the call to action for you and your business. What can you do that will make it clear to your clients and prospects that you understand their needs, and that because you do better than anyone else, they’ll feel likely to find people like themselves when they visit your business?

This should be your focus. You’ll attract employees who will be just like your offering. You’ll attract clients who will be just like your employees. And when we find ourselves around people just like us, we find ourselves more than satisfied.

Believe me, the rest will take care of itself.

Are You Willingly Giving Away Your Freedom?

As we celebrate our nation's 233rd birthday this July 4, it is important to remember that our freedom came at a heavy price.  Men and women who personally sacrificed and continue to sacrifice to provide us with liberty should be thanked and remembered in reflective thought and prayer.  We are truly blessed to live in this most favored nation.

Yet every day we continue to sacrifice the freedom we have been so graciously provided.  While each day we debate how current or past political climes have diminished our freedom, it is not the purpose of this writing.  It is time to take a serious look at our individual freedom and how we willingly give it away when we become dependent upon a job.  According to a recent article Why Americans hate their jobs, "A majority of Americans now say they are unhappy at work." (The Week January 7, 2010)

The greatest loss of freedom in America happens on Monday morning.  Millions of people climb into their cars and funnel into the rat race.  There they fight and struggle to maintain a lifestyle they have built based on the income provided by the job they have selected. Whether by ignorance, influence, or indifference, most employees have built an invisible yet totally effective cage they now live in.  They are imprisoned by their jobs, trapped by the need to provide for a family and maintain a lifestyle.

The idea that each person is free is long forgotten.  Each week many will fear the loss of "their job" not realizing it isn't theirs, it belongs to the employer and he or she has full control over who will own "their job".  Sadly, many will find that even their employer has little or no control over who will stay and who will go as companies we never imagined would go out of business disappear from the landscape.  Circuit City went from good to great to gone leaving thousands unemployed.

There is hope.  We still enjoy individual freedom in this country and we should exercise our freedom with great vigor.  We are free to choose where and if we will work and we're free to create our own work should we choose.  Here are four steps to ensure you maintain your freedom:

  1. Find your passion.  What is it that you were uniquely designed to do?  Many will have to spend hours sifting through the years of work they have done for the money to get to the essence of who they really are.  Everyone has a purpose.  What is yours?
  2. Remember that you are the CEO of your own personal services corporation.  You have the option to choose to sell your services to one client (your employer) or to open up your own shop to serve many.  Entrepreneurship is the single greatest tool to ensure independence.  The first step is to realize that you are already in business for yourself.  Who do you choose as your customer?
  3. Examine your current line of work to find an opportunity.  While you may not believe your current work is your passion, there is likely a good reason you chose to work in the field you are in.  Is there a place where your passion and your experience intersect?  That's where opportunity lies!
  4. Exercise your freedom.  Don't remain trapped by the current situation.  Think of the countless hours you likely waste each week that could be put to good use developing your own business that will provide added income, opportunity, and freedom.

Every person in the United States (the world for that matter) should approach his or her work as a business owner.  How well are you using the resources you currently possess?  Everyone has time, talent, knowledge, experience, expertise, passion, and property they can leverage to create greater value for their customer(s).  That may mean becoming more valuable at your current job or opening a small business to serve others.

Honor the sacrifice made on your behalf by those men and women who provided you with freedom by approaching your work as a business owner.  When you work at a job for one employer, give it your very best.  No one ever created a better life by giving it anything less.  You made the choice to work where you work.  Remember that you are selling your services to your employer. You receive both money and experience as payment for your services.  Learn how to do your work better than before and your services will be more valuable to your current employer, future employers, and future clients.

Treat your work as a business, and treat your business as an opportunity.  Entrepreneurship is the greatest exercise of freedom.