Complaints, Compliments and Compassion

For a number of years our company has donated vacation rental home use to a wonderful group called OutdoorsForAll.org (Formerly SkiForAll.org). Their mission is to enrich the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities through outdoor recreation.

OFA takes handicapped folks to destinations and into sports they could never imagine otherwise. Blind kids go skiing, the wheelchair bound go biking. The offer horseback riding, hiking, swimming, canoeing, rafting, water skiing and more.

The first time they stayed with us they brought a dozen kids to a ski area. It made us feel good to help, but we were disappointed when the housekeepers found that the beds had not been slept. A bit alarmed we placed a quick phone call to the organization apologizing because we didn't want them to think they could not use the beds.

We were greeted with boisterous laughter. "Oh you don't understand do you?" said the director. "These kids are mostly bed bound so staying in a big bed in a luxurious home is not an adventure." She explained. "But sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor by a fireplace is a thrilling experience for them. They could hardly sleep." We smiled and felt better.

If you want to make yourself feel great today, click here to make a donation to the Ski For All Organization.

Besides wonderful groups like Outdoors For All, we sometimes have guests that require special assistance.

Recently one such guest complained that we could not provide her with a wheel chair condo during her stay - even though she failed to request one when booking. She complained her condo wasn't actually on the beach, even though it was as close or closer than every other accommodation in town.

Never the less, she went home and THREE MONTHS later demanded a full refund, complained to every agency and media (who bought her trumped up story without corroboration) and then demanded a full refund for the week long vacation she received.

Businesses are often maligned for being callous or uncaring. That is unfortunate because businesses are nothing more than people; people who care about every guest and work diligently to satisfy them.

Our staff and affiliates were crest-fallen when that guest complained. But should they be?

Their actions went beyond the call of duty. Instead of sulking about one person who seemed to be asking for far more than she ordered, they need to focus on the hundreds of thousands who appreciate their lodging, noticed how clean the linens are, appreciate the comfortable furniture, relax at the pools, use the fully furnished kitchens and offer those little compliments everyone needs in life.

We need to judge our own compassion by those who appreciate it, but keep working for those pesky people as well. You know we will.

P.S. A good thing came out of this incident. We sponsored and our not-for-profit trade association - the Vacation Rental Industry Association (www.VRIA.org) formed a donation program where owners can announce their giving to charitable causes. See VacationRentalAngels.com

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P.S. Coming Soon. The VacationRentalAngels.com program sponsored by the Vacation Rental Industry Association. Where owners can announce their donations to charitable causes.

Published on 11/19/09 by May, William Victor – President