History of an opening in the middle of summer
I always promise myself (but also, more importantly, my staff) that during the summer months we will limit ourselves to "emergencies" and follow up sales.
With a persuasive tone, I say that it is unthinkable to make other commitments in the middle of the season: everything must be postponed until autumn.
But then you get a call: a new facility, a new challenge, and maybe nice, engaging owners: the truth is, I don't feel like saying no.
When you open a new hotel there are recurring themes to deal with: the anxiety of the owners exhausted by the last workers who just don't want to know about leaving the facility, the fear of the new staff of not being up to scratch, a thousand details to define and take care of and last but not least, the anxiety of the consultant (me in this case) who takes responsibility for the success of the operation.
What will be the feedback from early customers? Will we be able to sell despite the fact that the season is well underway? So, let's go and study the booking window of the place to see if we can still get bookings in, watch out for the strongest competitors, let's set the standard for breakfast....in short, let's give this place a soul and make it unique!
And then you have to get the web online, train the front office staff to use the new PMS, make sure the POS is working, take care of communications with guests, connect the OTAs to the software, implement sales strategies, find suppliers.... over and over.
After a month of struggling, we're off to the facility. We'll sleep there to test everything out and, with only a few days to go before opening, we'll complete our work.
Upon arrival the impact is discouraging: still many things to be assembled, rooms not ready, dozens of workers wandering around making dirty what has just been cleaned by the Housekeeping staff. A light doesn't work, a drain is leaking, the pool towels haven't arrived, the laundry hasn't delivered yet and we still can't take the missing photos.
Classic reaction: we can't make it to open. The problem is that we now have reservations coming in and we have to make it.
And so you don't look at the hours and the 40 degrees that complicate an already difficult situation: the first day passes with hundreds of things to do and just as many that come to mind. The phone ringing and your name being pronounced hundreds of times by dozens of different people. A dip in the pool to recover a bit and find the energy to arrive in the evening, where tired and hungry you manage to exorcise some tension.
As day two dawns, with dozens of workers completing the last few things you try to finish the lineup, taste vendor products and think about how to impress your first guests.
Sure, the organic jam, the fresh milk, the 100% juice, the set up, the courtesy line in the theme....believe me, really 1000 things.
Then it's time to go home, and after the last endless recommendations you leave with a knot in your throat: did I forget something? Will they make it? Should I have stayed?
A few days and the first guest selfie finally arrives ......and you're touched. Almost as if it were your own creation.
There is a little piece of you in that location and the first review makes you proud and reassures you: you know that now there are all the conditions for that location to run on the road to success.
Run....and never stop!