I booked a hotel room recently and, while navigating the rates, I came across one that said “run of house.” I know this means “you get what we’ve got left.” It is doubtful that this would ever be an exciting upgrade, but maybe. In my experience, upgrades rarely happen even when I’m paying higher rates. I saw this kind of phenomenon recently when booking a rental car. Avis had an exorbitant rate on a “mystery car” for an Alaska trip we are planning. Run of house or mystery car, I’m usually unwilling to gamble on things like that. When pondering the hotel rate though, it reminded me of something we’ve heard from clients who tell us they like working with us because they know who they are going to work with – Melissa primarily, and me. We have had times in our business when we had other consultants to assign to certain cases. But, we always disclosed the details about the other, well qualified, consultants in advance. To my surprise, some clients have reported not knowing who they would be working with at competitors’ companies until that person showed up on the research day, or in court. That kind of run of house was a major turnoff to these clients. As a boutique operation, our clients don’t face the uncertainty of run of the house, or mystery consultants!
The expression, “run of the house” does not have a positive connotation for me. I prefer to know what I am getting and even more than that, I prefer to know I am getting the best I can possibly get. I dislike most surprises because many people are not as discerning as me, therefore, what they think is nice may or may not be what I think is nice. For example, everyone’s idea of a “nice car” is different. That’s why some of us like SUVs, others like minivans, others like luxury sedans, and others prefer retro muscle cars. I have an ex-friend whose dear husband bought her a brand new Jaguar XJ8 in a lovely red color. She once told me how much she hated the car and would never have selected it for herself, going on to say “How dare my husband not let me buy the car of my choice.” (I told her I would happily take it off her hands, but she refused, leading me to believe she liked it more than she admitted.) In my experience, a run of the house hotel room usually means I check in to the hotel, get my room key, ride up the elevator, walk down the long hallway, arrive to the room, only to find the headboard of the bed shares a wall with the elevator. I cannot count the number of times this has happened! Instead of run of the house, please allow me to stay in a room with a view, including a balcony if possible, located in a quiet part of the hotel away from the elevator and the ice machine. And to Magnus’ clients, I promise you will get the best consultant we have to offer, me, instead of someone else who just happened to be the only person we could find for you.