I don’t know where to begin so I’ll start where it makes sense. This first week of 2016 has been a whirlwind of activity for me at work. I am in charge of scheduling travel, hotel and ground transportation as well as facilitating meeting coordination for large groups of people. Having been on vacation for the last two weeks, my inbox was more than overflowing.
Now that you have the general picture, fast forward to Friday when I have my inbox almost fully conquered, my to-do list prioritized, and the emergency add-on tasks of Friday morning handled. I’m ready to go to lunch and then after I ate, I would get to my work that I thought about and put a plan together to get done. Remember that saying about the best-laid plans? Right. I was so there when THE phone call came in.
To summarize the call, the request was for me to get as many rooms as possible booked in as many different hotels as possible in the town that’s a mere 14 miles from Levi’s Stadium — wait for it — the week before Super Bowl 50! (Nope, that wasn’t the Twilight Zone-y part. That’s coming.)
After saying several Woosahs to get my mind wrapped around this task (that the caller clearly felt was a near impossible task), I decided to get right to this task instead of going to lunch.
First step: I Google’d hotels near the meeting location. Ascertained the distance to Levi’s Stadium and exactly when the Super Bowl is and the time.
Second step: Opened another tab to check out each hotel to ensure it was of sufficient quality and caliber for our clients.
Third step: Began by calling the closest hotel: The Clement Hotel. The pictures looked good and it was the closest one. I would normally use a 3rd party vendor to book the rooms but in this case, I felt that booking directly with the hotel during such a pivotal time would be the best bet. I dialed the number and was connected to Reservations quickly. They had rooms left! Four of them. Booked them quickly but to the tune of well over $10K for a bit less than a week.
Fourth step: Call the second closest hotel: The Sheraton Palo Alto. I’ve booked there before and knew the quality was more than sufficient. They had 6 rooms. I felt great that it was all coming together. The price for these rooms was more than obscene and I just did what needed to be done and booked them. I received the confirmations and something clicked.
All four of my confirmation emails came from The Sheraton Palo Alto! What in the world happened to the reservations for The Clement Hotel? The first four rooms? I immediately asked the rep at the Palo Alto about the two reservations I had and if she had those four rooms in her system. She did! I had 10 rooms at the Sheraton Palo Alto hotel! How in the world was that possible?
I called over a colleague and showed her my phone log and asked her to verify if I dialed the right number for The Clement Hotel — I had! She was just as baffled as I was.
It took an additional 43 minutes and conversations with 4 other people to get to the bottom of it. Super long story short: The Clement Hotel is under construction and is not open for business yet! Most importantly, it is a property of the Sheraton! Therefore, the number listed for The Clement actually rings directly at The Sheraton Hotel! So, if I had used The Clement’s check rates feature (instead of dialing them directly!), I would have seen that their calendars had every single date grayed out.
The lesson of this story? Dunno. But the upshot is that it’s a very happy ending. Ten is the magic number for booking rooms. Once you reach 10 rooms, you can be offered a block room rate and receive a discount. This works out for our client!
So, yes it was disconcerting. Yes, it was quite frightening to experience, first-hand, how a basic rule of life could stop working. One fully expects that when you dial a number, you are supposed to get connected to the person/entity you dialed. Not in the Twilight Zone! However, it all ended very well.
Let’s all do a collective…woosah.
And how was your first week of 2016?