How Far Would Your Incentive Partner Go For You?

I love to travel.  I also love being able to help clients plan the most outstanding incentive program possible.  And after being in this business for over 25 years, I know how important it is to get all the details right.  So when a recent site inspection didn’t measure up to our standards, we knew what had to be done.

Our 4-day PEI Executive Summit in Cabo was followed by an 8-day program.  In between, we scheduled a site visit in anticipation of bringing our clients to the location later in the year for the “official” site visit.  We were stunned when we found major issues in food and beverage and the overall level of service at the hotel we had intended to use.  We had high expectations for first class accommodations, butler service in the rooms and concierge level support throughout the facility.

We endured three meals, each with its own issues.  Bacon and sausage swimming in its own fat at the breakfast buffet; poorly presented bread/olive oil at dinner; frozen fish that was still cold and ultimately tasteless;  chocolate soufflé that was actually a chocolate lava cake, which would have been nice if that’s what had been ordered.

We met with onsite management, our salesperson and the Director of Food and Beverage.  We conveyed all of our concerns and informed them that we were prepared to move the program to another property.  We requested a conference call with the General Manager the following week, after he returned from a business trip.

During that following week, we were once again hosting a program with another group but during our free time, followed up with the General Manager on a Friday.  He assured us that the situation was caused by a confluence of issues and promised that steps would be taken to ensure that by the time we returned with our client, scheduled for the Fall, all would be well.

We said, “Great!  See you on Tuesday.”  So rather than head home after nearly 3 weeks on the road, we made one more visit to the property.  We also took the opportunity to spend an extra 2 days on the island and check out a different property just in case it was needed.

We’re happy to report that the General Manager’s promise was kept.  Almost overnight, the staff “got their act together.”  The food and beverage experiences matched or exceeded our expectations.  We sampled almost every food offered in every restaurant (small samples, thank you!) to ensure top quality.  And at every level, the service was transformed.

Our goal was not to fix their problems but to ensure that they are capable of delivering the level of service and quality of experience that we expect for our clients.  And this they accomplished.  When the time comes to take our client for their own site inspection, we will again satisfy ourselves that the property is perfect by arriving 2-3 days early and reviewing every detail as we have already done.

It would have been nice to be home for those four days but that’s the price of delivering excellence.  A price we’re willing to pay.

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