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This Month's Tip(s): Inspecting Resorts is an Important Part of my Job
As we celebrate this Labor Day weekend I thought it would be appropriate to share an important part of my job. Since I focus on family travel, I have always felt the resort can make or break your family vacation. Because I feel that strongly, I also feel I need to personally inspect as many resorts as possible. I have inspected over 100 resorts in Mexico over the past three years as Mexico is the number one vacation destination from my market. I thought I would share what I look for when I inspect a resort and put together my A-Z reviews. (Haven't seen my A-Z reviews? Click here) I also do the same thing for cruise ships but will focus on the resort side of the business today.
I don’t really spend time inspecting the roadside type hotels that you and I drive by everyday. These are cookie cutter and most people know what to expect. I am talking about resorts where you are spending your hard earned dollars on that well-earned vacation. Most Americans only have two weeks vacation and, unlike some of our European counterparts that have at least four weeks, we really can’t afford to make a bad choice wasting a valuable week. That is why I take the resort side of my business so seriously.
The first thing I look at is the ambiance of the resort, what is that first impression when I drive up to the resort and walk into the lobby. Every resort has its’ own personality. The minute you walk in you are already saying to yourself, I like this place or it’s ok but not really dazzling me.
As I walk the grounds I also get a sense for how well they keep up the property. Any resort in a warm weather ocean destination should be doing some refurbishment every 7-8 years. Since I am a pool person I pay a lot of attention to the pool area and for beach resorts I try and get a sense of the beach. The other common area I look at is the restaurant(s). For all-inclusive resorts, how the food is presented at the buffet is very important. I have seen resorts where the presentation was not very good so my feeling is they also do not pay attention to the quality of the food. On one of my recent inspections the rep offered to take me back into the kitchen, which was a first for me. They were so proud of the cleanliness and wanted to show it off. I was very impressed.
The next thing I look at are the rooms. I would say most people tell me the room is not that important since they do not spend much time in the room. I would agree that during the day that is true but you do sleep there and I don’t like sleeping in a room that makes me feel uncomfortable. Or at the end of the day, I like coming back to a room where I can sit out on the balcony and enjoy the view. In my opinion, the room is very important to the experience.
The two main things I look at are the bathrooms and the view from the room. When I walk into the bathroom the first thing I look at is the ceiling in the shower or above the tub. How well are they paying attention to not letting mold and mildew build up? The view is important because that is one of the first things people do when they walk into the room; they walk over and look out the window to see their view. You can take the same exact room and, based on the view, will make an overall impression and ultimately affect the experience.
The last thing I pay attention to is the attitude of the front desk person and the professionalism of the representative showing me the resort. Unless I am staying at the resort, this is the only sense I can get of the level of customer service my clients will receive. I have seen some wonderful resorts but my impressions have not been as good as they could have been because the front desk person was not friendly or the rep did not know their product. I have seen some resorts that were ok but the people were so friendly and proud of their product I give them better marks because I am pretty sure my clients will enjoy their stay.
Ultimately I still don’t have control over the experience you will have at any given resort and that is why I always like to get feedback when a client returns. I also make professional recommendations based on client feedback. It would be impossible for me to visit every resort in every destination so I pay attention to what my clients say.
I hope this gives you a better idea of what I do and why I take your vacation so seriously. I take pride in what I do and hope that comes across with the people I work with.
I wish everyone a safe and wonderful Labor Day Weekend!
David Rojahn, CTC
DTR Travel Inc.
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