My Take-Aways From The Book Be Our Guest

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 2 comments

Several years ago on a business trip to Amsterdam, I was offered a book by the hotel I was staying at. The book was about the hotel and area where I was staying, and I gladly accepted it and it sat on my bookshelf until now. So why would I keep such a book? Now I know.

The book is titled “Be Our Guest! All about Jan Toebaxman, Holland and the Dutch.” The hotel I stayed in was called the Golden Tulip Jan Tabak – Golden Tulip is a hotel chain and Jan Tabak is a version of the name Jan Toebaxman, or Joe Tobaccoman in English. It tells the story about the original hotel built near the site back in the 1600’s, as well as the story of the innkeeper and the region where it is outside of Amsterdam.

Did I have any takeaways from this 47-page book? Of course! My greatest takeaway is that there are stories to be told. From stories of individuals to families to businesses and cities, there are surely many stories never documented in some form, and thus lost over the generations. It is not until years later this is usually found, and the recreation of the stories from other stories takes some great effort. Telling a story, no matter how small, adds to the conversation of life and society.

Another takeaway is you can sell through telling your story. If I had more time on that trip this book pointed out small towns and sights to see in those towns. The book itself had little mention about the present-day hotel itself, but in selling on the area, it would be top of mind to stay at this hotel if I wanted to visit this area again.

A final takeaway is receiving this book was unexpected. The only other hotel I have been in that had a book or story of any kind was a Marriott hotel, where I found a copy of the Marriott family and hotel chain story. This was years ago, and I don’t even know if they distribute the books in hotel rooms anymore. Usually the “reading materials” in a hotel room are sales pitches or the Gideons Bible, and some hotels don’t offer the latter anymore. This book was a pleasant surprise, even though it took a while for me to read it.

As I pass along a book after I read it, I will send this book to the first person who posts a comment stating they would like it. Don’t leave your address, as I will email you outside of the blog for it. And there’s no obligation to visit The Netherlands either, though I highly recommend it. The hotel is still there, but is now NH Jan Tabak.

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