Every day in the hospitality business is an opportunity to learn something new. It’s one aspect of the career I’ve chosen that I quite enjoy. Some lessons though are harder than others and will test you more than anything you’ve previously experienced. The times I tend to learn the most are the weeks that stress me out the most. Those moments where you need to see the forest and not just the trees.
Recently one of those learning experiences came around. In the form of a wedding group of all things. Various of my more experienced colleagues have told me since I started work, that as a timeshare we never accept group reservations unless it’s a slow period. So of course mistake one came in the form of accepting a wedding group during two of the busiest weeks of the year. My colleague in rentals spent most of January and February telling me she was going to take vacation on the dates those guests were scheduled to be there. One of her reasons being as the dates drew nearer we still hadn’t secured all the rooms we needed.
Ever confident though, I kept the faith and reminded her that she’s the one who taught me never to panic when oversold. We would have the rooms we needed. The confident exterior certainly didn’t match the interior, but I wasn’t about to let them see me sweat.
Finally the time comes, we by the skin of our teeth have gotten all the rooms and manage to achieve something we hadn’t in a long time, a 100% occupancy rate. Of course that comes with its own challenges for housekeeping, both during the week and on the Saturday. As much as that was a win for the resort, it was a strain on the housekeeping budget, something the Executive Housekeeper likes to remind me of. Everyone was slightly on edge for that week, trying to manage the sheer volume of people.
The next lesson came in the form of the wedding day itself. It just so happened to be the same day as our change over day. Although, we had managed to get some of the group members in rooms where they could be in for the entirety of their stay, some still had to move. Well that was problematic to say the least and took a whole lot of coordination between all the departments involved to get everyone moved and shipped into where they had to be in time for the sunset ceremony. So lesson number two, no groups whose big events fall on change over day.
I don’t think anyone has ever been as relieved as we were when those weeks were over and we got to go back to our regular pace. The biggest lesson I learned and I hope my colleagues did too is that by pulling together and coordinating our efforts we can do more than we thought we were capable of. Timeshares can’t fully compete when it comes to hosting massive groups, but if we are willing to adapt our stance, be selective and find groups that fit within our boundaries, then a whole new field is wide open for us.