Having some fun this week in the spirit of Halloween, so I’m sharing some shortened versions of “scary event stories” that have happened to professionals, myself included, who work in this industry. To be clear, these stories are all true. But, in the spirit of ‘protecting the innocent’, I’m not divulging any names/places. Not now. Not never!
What I can tell you is that as a veteran planner in this industry, there’s no need to make this stuff up because crazy things really do happen all the time, everywhere meetings and events are held. And yes, even here in Orlando. Just ask any one of the over 200,000 hospitality employees that live and work here.
Keeping up with industry buzzwords, I learned recently that we have left the SERVICE economy behind us and are now in the EXPERIENCE economy. (Technically, this happened a few years back. For data and details, check out the book The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore that was last updated in, um. 2011. Full Disclosure: Not the first time I’ve been late to the party. Just sayin’ .) Anyway, here in the wonderful world of hospitality we still believe that service is king, oh yes we do! But, the current challenge is to find more and better ways of providing excellent service experiences at the same time that we’re embracing unemotional systems, policies and procedures.
To put it in a hospitality-hotel nutshell, if you’re smoking your iPhone and are addicted to technology (yes, you out there, currently tapping your thumbs on your you-know-what), do you really want or care about that smile delivered with your room key at hotel check in, or would you prefer to bypass human interaction at the front desk and unlock your room with an app that you’ve downloaded on your very own hand-held piece of legal crack (aka iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia Lumia, or whatever you’ve got)?
Okay, I’ll admit it. I do love me a good hotel lobby bar, and yes, living here in Orlando we’ve got a plethora of great ones to choose from, so lucky us! But I wonder how many locals take advantage of this chic and oftentimes cultured opportunity? What’s that, you’re asking? Where’s the ‘opportunity’ in a local having to shed the flip-flops (please?) and drive all the way out to park themselves in the middle of the insanely populated tourist and convention flow (eeuw!) just to pony up to a bar? Let me count the ways…
GOOD= interesting jobs, great opportunities for upward movement, nice perks (when you get them), pretty darn good (mostly) work environments.
BAD= lower hourly pay (until you reach management level), potential for odd hours as we are a 24/7 industry, repetitious dealing with crazy tourists who are (sometimes) hot-tired-sunburned-angry at having to wait in another line-dressed like tourists who actually don’t care what they look like (and for the most part, we can’t argue with that belief, right?), etc., etc., etc.
UGLY= repetitious dealing with crazy tourists. Oh, did I already mention that? Well, it’s worth repeating. Again.