Monday, July 8, 2013

Consultants Do It Better Than Everyone (But Disney)

Aah, vacation! When consultants get to kick back, relax, and spend some hotel points and airline miles. Ko Samui, here I come!

But, even on vacation, I just can't stop consulting! When all you do all day is criticize the crappy way everyone runs their business, vacation isn't all that relaxing. After all, the so-called "hospitality industry" is rife with nepotized C players, indolent idiots, and a slavish attention to all the wrong procedures.

Consider the average luxury resort stay:
  • You're greeted by that cesspool of tip-driven ne'er-do-wells, the parking valets. They'll step up and grab your bags (right out of your hand) to "earn" a tip, but can't be bothered to bring your car around in a timely manner. So you have to tip big to make sure you're marked as a big spender, worthy of attention and service.
  • Once inside, the well-dressed doorman will direct you to "reception" which, in modern times, has morphed into a disorganized set of high desks with no mechanism to keep the rabble organized. Even the elite desk is mobbed with barefoot rugrats and their parents asking where to get water park tickets.
  • Then there's the bellhop, who can't bring your luggage without you yet takes an hour to find your room. "Welcome to the resort! Now sit on your bed while our guy rummages through your bags and smashes the cart into the doors." I'd skip the porter, but then I'd get a reputation at the resort of the kind of guy who does his own laundry and eats at the buffet...
  • It's hilarious that "island time" has become a meme, but it's got no place at a luxury resort. Especially embossed on a plaque on the wall at the poolside bar. I don't want "island time" service, I want my damn drink!
  • Everything at the resort costs $100. Breakfast for two, drinks by the pool, spa services, a bottle of water, everything. You might as well just bring a stack of Benjamins and hand them to every employee you see. Except for dinner, which costs $100 per person even though it's about Olive Garden quality.
  • Your bill will be screwed up. They will charge you twice for dumb auditable things like overnight parking. How can they mess this kind of stuff up yet be able to force the maids to stuff four Kleenex into the box in the shape of a flower?
They could really use a consultant. But not me: It would ruin vacation if I knew just how much the resort management hates guests like me!

The only exception to all this is Disney. Those people are just fantastic. I think they must have management "secret shopping" the parks, noting where to add a water fountain and how to better train employees. Love it!

Photo credit: Fonsen

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