A couple of weeks ago I arrived at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando for a conference. I, along with the others in my group, was immediately impressed with the grandeur of the resort.
From the grand entrance and the ornate lobby to huge atrium with a mini everglades including live alligators, beautiful pools, and tasteful restaurants, to the personal greeting on the screen of the in-room computer system, this was a fabulous resort (as they repeatedly called it).
The “Big Things” were all very nice, very grand. Obviously a lot of money spent. This was no average hotel and convention center. In a very short time my expectations for the experience I would have there were set very high.
Those high expectations were short lived, however. As I spent time in and around the resort I was continuously bombarded by little things overlooked or done poorly.
The first night I was there I came back to my room (after having been in and out of the room several times) and my key card would not work. I went down to the front desk and got a new one and I went back up to my room. I was still locked out. I went down to the desk again. They called security. I went back up and waited in the hall. Security got finally got there and I thought my wait was over. Wrong. He tried a few tricks, but couldn’t get in either. He radioed for engineering. So, I paced the hall and waited — again. The guy from engineering didn’t have any better luck getting the lock to work. Fortunately, he had a metal rod with a string that he could put under the door, hook the handle and break into my room. Yes, break in. That made me feel secure. An hour after I first tried to get into my room, I was finally successful. The guy from engineering said he had to rush off to help someone else who was locked out of their room, but he could come back after and replace the lock, or someone could come the next day. Well, I didn’t want to go into the next day not being able to get into my room, so I told him I’d wait up for him. Forty-five minutes later my door worked. I made it to bed about 1:30 am.
The next morning the fun continued. Although I could get into my room fine, I found that I could not get out of the guest parking. Fortunately, the card reader had a button you could push for help. “They will let me out” I thought. Wrong. I had to get the 2 cars behind me to back up and drive to the exit that had an attendant — who insisted on swiping my card herself and looking up my room number before she would believe that it didn’t work (but should have).
I had been eager to forgive after getting locked out. Mechanical failures happen. Now, however, I was beginning to get a bit frustrated. And, the frustrations continued. I won’t bore you with the details, but little things continued to go wrong throughout the week. Not just for me, but for most in my group. Of the 8 in my group, only one didn’t have several irritating problems, from in-room air conditioning and phone not working to being checked into rooms that had not been cleaned (including a used shaving kit in the bathroom).
Sadly, instead of coming away with great memories of a great experience, we all came away with a bad taste in our mouths due to “Little Things” that were overlooked and mishandled. A lot of money was spent on big things to make a big impression. But that money was wasted due to the little things gone awry. That’s too bad for everyone involved.