Today one of my oldest friends calls me in distress and needed, as she put it, "professional advise".
Her story goes: She is currently in the middle of a vacation with her two young children (6 & 8) and husband in Spain. They had booked a hotel with a vast selection of swimming pools and a special room that guaranteed view over the "chill swimming pool".
They have stayed in this hotel before and knew how children friendly it was.
On arrival they were told that they had been given an "up suite with view of the chill swimming pool". They were also told that you had to be over 18 to access the chill out pool.
My friend, not happy with this information, makes a fuss and demands a change of room as they possibly could not know that the chill out pool was only from 18 and the whole idea of their holiday was to be able to see the pool where the kids were from their room. The receptionist tells her " no problem, they can use the pool".
Today 4 days into their holiday my friend is fed up with the pool guards keeping on telling her children to "leave the pool" and the guards manager telling her the rules are there and they should not be in the pool.
My friend went back to the reception, different person is there than on check-in, and asks how this can be resolved. The answer she got was "All our guests know that the chill out pool is from 18".
Her question to me: "Should I as a guest know that "chill out pool" means only for over 18?"
I could not stop myself from smiling, even if I felt very sad and sorry for my friend, as I can sense her distress over the phone and I know how stressful it can be to try to have a relaxed holiday when travelling with young children.
The hotel in question surely has some policy and the employees have been told to follow the rules. The receptionist knows what to say, the pool guard knows the rules and how to enforce them which I guess is a victory in the eye of the hotel management, but have they been showed empathy and understanding? Have they had a discussion on WHY people come to their hotel for holiday and what is the main aim of these guests?
As people are being treated by management is how they treat the guests.
Of course they all could have a bad day and behave completely out of ordinary, however more likely is that they have been trained on rules of a hotel, not the purpose why they are working there.
If they had been given the WHY of their organisation and the purpose of their job - they surely would have reacted differently towards my friend, who now is spending part of her much needed vacaction on chasing managers to resolve this issue and compensate her instead of sitting in a sun chair with a Margarita and a book.
My passions are managing and improving the results of hotels through employee centered processes. My motto: "Put your employees first and the rest will follow. Don't just say it - show it through the actions that you take".