A tour manager’s worst nightmare is arriving at a hotel with a group to find that no accommodation has been booked, and the hotel is full. It happened to me just once, in Edinburgh, at the Scandic Crown Hotel on the Royal Mile, which is now the Radisson Blu Hotel.
This is a true story that happened 25 years ago on my very first Scottish tour.
We arrived in Edinburgh by English coach which dropped us and our luggage at the hotel and left. Because we were changing to a Scottish company the next day, I was in charge for today. Suitcases were unloaded onto trolleys, and I fronted the desk with my booking details and paperwork.
The receptionist spent some time tapping at her computer, and then informed me that there was no booking for my group. “Computer says No” (Little Britain for those in the know). I could hear a gasp and rumblings from my assembled passengers – no accommodation!
Keeping the rising panic in check, I insisted that the receptionist look again, and after a while the same response. So I was immediately on my mobile to the owner/manager of our Scottish operator, Prestige Tours, whilst the rumblings behind me became louder. Ewan, the MD, immediately asked me to let him speak to the receptionist. There was a very brief conversation when she went very quiet. Then she was off the phone.
“Oh, you are booked through Prestige Tours. Why didn’t you say so? They are in a different part of our reservation system. Yes your rooms are all here.” I could have taken their stupid reservation system and thrown it up the street and over Edinburgh Castle. So it couldn’t find people by a reservation number or name? Ridiculous!
Anyway, all’s well that ends well, and that night some of my guests bought me a wee dram or two to calm my nerves. Thank goodness that in all my years with group tours, it never happened again. I’ve always used the best suppliers upon whom I can rely, and I have always dealt with the top management. If there is ever a problem it is sorted very quickly.
Personal relationships are still so important in spite of computers – travel is still a “people” business.
If you want to stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh, a highly regarded hotel with a fabulous location, then book here.
This tale is just one of many from my best selling book The Toast Is Cold where I relate what happened during the 90s with my highly acclaimed UK group tours. You can purchase this book for just $3.99 here.
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