Vacation Hazards

Posted on June 4, 2009 by LCT Magazine

JIM LUFF RESORTS?? When you wake up after a night of drinking, you feel two things. Your tongue is somewhere in the middle of the Sahara desert, and has been there for quite some time, and you are so hungry you could eat one of everything at the buffet.
I could hardly wait to waltz over to the buffet and begin my feast. As we entered the buffet line, I quickly realized my choices were very limited. The main course would be an omelet. There were potatoes, strawberries, toast, muffins, and that was about the whole buffet. I figured a ham-and-cheese omelet would be just the ticket to recovery. I am not sure what they use for eggs but I assure you they are not real eggs. The potatoes were absolutely horrible and the strawberries were rotten as well. To add insult to injury, this breakfast was $15 each! In relating to our business, I am sure that at about $100 an hour for stretch limousines, people expect a lot. They expect everything to be perfect to be exact. This, in perspective, was a very expensive price for breakfast and nothing worked. It would be like the sound system not working, the TV not working, the air-conditioning system not working, the moon-roof not working, and the carpet being dirty all at once.
Sometimes bad food can be made tolerable by excellent service just as a poorly maintained car can be made tolerable by an exceptional chauffeur. This was not the case today. I had to get up and go find my server to ask if I could please have some more iced tea. I was only able to tolerate a few bites of food before I decided this is making my stomach feel worse — not better!
In my last and final attempt with the hotel restaurant/room service, we called to have iced tea delivered to our room along with wine glasses. I was told it would be about 45 minutes before it could be delivered. At this point, I wondered if they had to go somewhere to purchase the tea, come back, brew it, and serve it. Once again, we were taking in the beauty of our balcony so I figured I would be patient. One hour later, we were served four wine glasses and one metal pitcher of room temperature tea, no tea glasses, no sugar, Sweet n’ Low or and more importantly, NO ICE. I ultimately went to the ice machine, filled my ice container up, and iced my own tea. We decided there would be no more room service and no more trips to the horrible restaurant.
This all made me think of how we deliver our service and how many people are involved, and how any one person not upholding their share of the job assignment could spell disaster. There is the reservationist, the person who makes maps and secures parking or special arrival instructions at large venues, the car detailer, the chauffeur, and the billing clerk. Any one of these people failing to do their best could leave our clients with an ugly memory of our company. When one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing, we collectively fail to deliver exemplary service. Every team member must uphold their own level of service. To me, the fact that the valet attendant, the bellman, and the desk clerk all did a fabulous job was sullied by the horrible food and beverage service.
The funny thing is, they probably have no idea as hard as they work greeting people in an attentive manner, guests will never have a 100% service satisfaction because the other side of the house is a miserable flop that degrades the entire resort. Is your house in order all the way around?
Tomorrow: I will share how small the world is as we run into a couple from our home city. He is a high-ranking police official and she is a former playmate of my wife’s from childhood. We also tried a buffet breakfast at a chain restaurant without much better luck than the hotel.
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