I was just out on the west coast for a conference and decided to extend the trip and go to The Grand Canyon; magnificent, by the way. I had to change my travel plans a few times as I was planning the trip, but by the time I left I had everything all set…..or so I thought.
The conference went well and we set off for our 5 hour drive. When we arrived at the Grand Canyon and checked into our lodge, the customer service rep confirmed we were there for 3 nights leaving on the 27th. As she said it, I knew it didn’t sound correct. I distinctly remembered putting that I would be out until the 28th on my voicemail and email messages. I looked at the woman and told her I was pretty sure my flight back to New York was on the 28th. We both looked down at the confirmation and clearly it said 3 nights, checking out on the 27th. Instead of pointing that out to me, or saying that it was my mistake, not theirs, she immediately smiled and said, “OK, don’t panic. We will find you a room for the last night. It may not be the same room you’re in now, but I promise you will not be sleeping on the rim of the Canyon.”
I couldn’t believe that with all the times I checked and re-checked my paperwork, I didn’t notice this, but it was true. I had booked this lodge almost a year in advance because the lodges on the rim get booked up very fast, so when I saw that I had no room for the last night my first thought was that I was in big trouble, but that woman immediately made me feel like everything was going to be ok. She told me to double check my documents. Make sure that my flight was indeed on the 28th and then come back down and she would talk to a manager to see what they could do.
So I messed up. I did in fact need a room for the last night. I went back down, but now there were a lot of people at the desk, so when my turn came I spoke to a different person. I relayed the story. He looked at me like with an expression of, “Oh boy, big problem!” He started punching on the computer keys and said, “There’s really nothing I can do for you at the desk because we can only see room availability for today and tomorrow here. And things change all the time so I have no idea what will be open on the 27th.” Keep in mind, this isn’t a Hilton, it’s a lodge at the National Park, but still. But I was able to make reservations months ago, why can’t you just create a new reservation? “Sorry, we can’t do that. But you can stop down again the day before and we can check then.” Of course I couldn’t live with that. I’m not the type who could relax and leave things to chance. I asked him if I called the reservation line myself, could that work?” “Probably,” he said. Thanks for your help!
My husband convinced me to take a breath, grab a drink and enjoy the breathtaking view for a few minutes and to go back to the first lady when she wasn’t busy. Good thinking, husband.
I revisited my favorite customer service woman a little later. She remembered me and went to speak with her manager. You want to hear something funny? She came back and told me essentially the same thing the other guy said, except she told me that because people do make reservations so far in advance, they always have cancellations at many of the rim lodges and the likelihood of us having to even move to a different lodge was very unlikely. But even if we had to move, they would take care of everything for us and we could go about our activities for the day and all would be ready for us when we got back. She gave me the phone number for the reservation line so it was nice and easy for me. She said to make a reservation wherever there was room and then to check back with the desk on the 26th and let them know if we wanted them to keep checking for a more desirable room.
That’s what I did. I got a room reserved in our same lodge immediately and I did go back to the front desk on the 26th to let them know I would prefer a larger room if one became available. It did, and they moved all our stuff for us for the last night and all was well.
Both reps really said the same thing, but every time I spoke to the women, I felt reassured. Every time I spoke to the guy, I felt frustrated and angry. So often, it’s really not what you say; it’s how you say it.
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com
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