“Relax and let go, everything always works out…”
Imagine coordinating the successful navigation of this epic night to be…
The house is already full. The parking garage is packed to the gills. The excitement begins 11:00am when wedding guests begin arriving to pick up a shuttle at 1:30pm. Unfortunately, their rooms will not be ready because you are already holding a specific set of rooms for the UVM women’s soccer team, the Drexel men’s soccer team, and eight rooms for Ravi Shankar, not to mention the two daily airline crews totaling 24 rooms.
As 143 rooms depart the hotel, you must masterfully place the arriving 146 guests for which you only have 143 rooms. Luckily, these 143 departing rooms will all check out at their leisure including 17 Virgin Atlantic Crew leaving at 5:30pm and 7 Iceland Air Crew leaving at 8pm. So now you must carefully place the remaining guests attempting to abide by the guest’s room preference of which you already know your 10 rooms short. And these 10 are not just smoking rooms, but they are rooms with two beds. You try telling four large drunk baseball fans that they are going to sleep in a room with one king bed. Long story short, they’re going to be pissed and take their aggression out on 188 wedding guests that you have arriving at 4:30pm for a 5:30pm wedding. The game will have just let out and droves of drunken yokels will be checking in and parading around the lobby. Luckily, you’ve already taken care of the 55 person wedding, which started at 3:30pm on the second floor. And don’t forget that both weddings have full valet parking into a packed garage as no less than 200 cars from the weddings, Red Sox, Symphony crowd, and hotel guests are taken by the subcontracted valet.
All the while, you must remember two important rules. The first rule is that your job is to maximize hotel occupancy through room revenue and additional outlets including food and beverage and parking. The second rule, which is the stressful one and ultimately more important, is to achieve the highest level of guest satisfaction for 285 guests.
Of the 142 of which are already inhouse, you have 10 Icelandic women who came with empty suitcases and will leave with thousands of dollars of consumer purchases; the entire Millar Clan in to watch the Red Sox game; the Brady family in to watch the Patriots game; and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. There are several guests who stayed in smoking rooms or have another defect that will require them to switch during the day leaving several rooms that must be re-cleaned.
Finally, when you thought you’d figured it all out and ready to delegate to your staff, you realize that you are dealing with several people incapable of understanding what you’re trying to do—mostly because you haven’t had the time to share it with any of them. After all, you generally don’t think it out quite this well and even when you do, you’re still just learning the business. You’ve got the customer service down. You’ve got the property management down. You’ve still got find a better way to manage the staff. People just don’t think the way you do; they’ve got their own agendas.
But luckily, this day has been destined to fail for several weeks. This weekend is doomed by a ridiculous set of circumstances and events as well as weekend travelers. There is one guest, Ms. Dunn, who will return from her stay at The Sheraton because you did not have a room for her the previous night at 11:47pm. And don’t forget your weekend warriors who come early and believe they are the only ones staying in the hotel.
This weekend is a one of epic proportions! There are lifecycle events going on and you have to make sure that pictures are fit. This is the first time some people have ever been to Boston and you have to instill the spirit of the city in each of these individuals and let them know that the Yankees Suck. And, of course, you can’t wait for the first 5 women from Long Island or Westchester Country, New York. As much as you can love, the Cheryl Wolbrum’s of the world, you’ve just got to wonder why some people think they are so entitiled. They marry rich and they think you should respect their fake Louis Vuitton? First of all, ma’am, you’re reservation was booked for tomorrow and we don’t have room for you, secondly, there are no rooms in the city, Good Luck! Actually, that’s when the guilt sets in because she is about to cry knowing she’s headed to Danvers or further, so you take her in because she’s a hot older women. She flaunts her chest, you smile back, and you put her in an upgraded room that you will later pull from a Return Guest or semi-VIP, but that’s okay because at least you’re now negative six on rooms. And at least the Virgin Atlantic flight was delayed so that you have the excitement of putting guests in smoking rooms with full-side beds at 5:00pm so that they can glare at you every time they pass the front desk all night long. And they are the ones on Trip Advisor and that send comment cards to your boss. Of cours they will also want dinner reservations, directions, and comped parking. Did you say the parking was $32 dollars for night, son? Actually, ma’am, I apologize you’re with the other wedding and your parking is $36, you have to understand we have it in the contract and that’s the way it is. I don’t make the rules ma’am, I just do a hell of a job coordinating the successful navigation of oversold nights, minimizing guest complaints, maximizing revenue, and mastering the art of hotel management. Yes, your degree was in economics and political science from Amherst College doesn’t it make sense? You’re doing exactly the right thing. You are getting some of the best problem solving, management and customer service experience one could have. It is your job to figure it all out knowing full well that there are at least 50 decisions you will have to make tomorrow on feel because everyone knows that you know exactly what is going at all times.
Of course you have to introduce the housekeeping staff to restaurant cleanliness and the restaurant staff to the guests. Somehow these groups have never met even though they come in close contact with each other on a regular basis. Is this a human resources problem, who care’s you have to deal with it either way, you might as well just take a deep breath and work with what you’ve got.
When it all comes down to it you just have to relax and let go because when you walk in that door at 3pm you are going to have to very quickly figure out what has happened for the previous 8 hours and then you must enact the instructions above. Let’s hope you’re not alone. Cause you know that your boss actually does care; he wants you to succeed for your zeal and charisma alone. He likes to see your energy because he doesn’t have to expend quite as much, but what he doesn’t realize is that you want to be mentored because as much as you have the smarts you don’t have the experience. You’ll do all the work as long as you’re learning and not managing chaos.
Just let it go…and be…that’s the only way to live…
Ultimately a night of epic proportions can be oh so satisfying…