A Redo Trip

sandals bahamas private island approach [trip style = all-inclusive]

Tomorrow I'm embarking on redo trip to the Sandals WhiteHouse with my husband.  What I mean by this, is we had a bad experience, wrote a letter and this upcoming trip is the company's attempt to gain back our business and loyalty.   Have you ever done a redo trip?

Situation Last year we booked a last-minute trip at New Years to the Bahamas, and it turned out badly.  We have never moved rooms at any hotel, but had to move three times during the first half of one week! From toilets semi-exploding and flooding our bathroom, to the resort almost refusing to wash the clothes that were caught-up in the mess, to our airport transfer driver taking half an hour to eat his lunch at the airport when we'd all loaded on to the bus, our time away was a little stressful.

Our Challenges Our challenges with the Sandals Royal Bahamian reached their peak before dinner New Year's night. We had to decide whether we were going to leave the resort or put our bad experiences aside and try to enjoy the rest of our trip. We chose the latter and made the most of our remaining days.

Writing a Letter Rather than writing a hateful review on Trip Advisor and dismissing the entire Sandals brand forever, upon my return, I wrote an email to the Resort's GM telling him what we appreciated about the resort as well as explaining what had happened to make our trip less-than-ideal.  [Note that I addressed the letter to the GM because I had already unsuccessfully dealt with multiple middle managers while at the resort.]  I was impressed.  Within 3 days I received a response addressing each point, as well as a voucher for 3 nights.

A Redo With the voucher, rather than returning to the Royal Bahamian, we decided to try another resort within the brand --one that won consistent awards both in the past and present-day. We opted for the Sandals WhiteHouse. When I heard they were closed for renovations in November I was excited, but then I learned that the upgrades were mostly electrical. Either way, it will be nice to laze on the beach for a week, soak in the Caribbean sun and hopefully turn last year's negative experience into a positive!

Complementing/Complaining in the Right Way There are constructive and deconstructive ways to provide feedback.   We've all seen people freak at baristas for making the wrong drink or yell at servers for bringing the wrong dish.  These people are only discrediting themselves.  After experiencing and observing many 'harry situations' in my travels, here are some of the rules I live by when providing feedback:

  • Don't just tell people when you're disgruntled, tell people when you're happy with service too.  Whether travel-related or not, companies value positive feedback and reinforcement.
  • If you are disgruntled, try to express a few positives in order to show level-headedness.
  • If you are going to complement or complain, do so with class by ensuring
    • you tactfully tell the staff member and the manager
    • you understand the chain of command, and give the worker or manager an opportunity to respond before going directly to the VP or GM
  • Before complaining, take a deep breath or time-out.  Don't let yourself get angry; approach the situation with dignity and a clear head.  You'll be taken more seriously when calm.
  • Approach the challenge as an opportunity.
  • Don't ever speak down to anyone --whether a housekeeper, server, manager or CEO.  Treat everyone with respect.
  • Provide some background (if required) so your comment is taken with due credibility.
  • We're human.  We all make mistakes.  Keep this in mind before complaining.
  • Finally, do not spout-off on Trip Advisor before giving the hotel or resort an opportunity to make it right.  This is poor form.

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