"I really didn't say everything I said." - Yogi Berra
As a die hard Yankee fan, so many Yogi quotes come to mind during the day, and I have to just crack up. You may think they don’t make sense, but they really do. In this case, I have to add a Mario Perillo/Yogi Berra disclaimer to my travel critiques.
One of the reasons my dad was as successful as he was, is that his business acumen and ethical prowess transcended even the most acceptable boundaries or bars set by businesses. He was all about loyalty, honesty, and never forgot that every penny in his pocket came from hard work. That Italian kid from the Bronx who rubbed poison ivy all over his face to impress a girl and wound up in bed for two weeks, was obviously into first impressions, and making them last. He parlayed this unquenchable scrupulousness into care and thought for his business, and his passengers who made it all possible.
He once told me the reason the travel business was so delicate and so difficult to maintain and keep afloat was that “you can’t return a vacation.” He explained that so many people, especially those traveling to Italy saved pennies for years for one dream vacation, and now you were responsible to make it happen and make it right. Of course things like delays and weather cannot be controlled, but on the whole, what you CAN control, you need to make perfect. A vacation doesn’t have a broken zipper … you can return a dress and get the same dress. You can’t do that with someone’s vacation.
When I travel, I keep this concept tucked into my travel heart and I tend to be very particular about where I am, and what was promised by a property. I not only think about myself and what I have shelled out, but for other families who may be on a budget and save and save and end up with the short end of the stick. I don’t want to say this place was great just because I have to, or because it makes a good blog post. If a place delivers, fantastic, I love you! If they don’t, they need to know, and so does the traveling public. Properties have a responsibility to give clients what they paid for at the very minimum. Coupled with this comes a clean environment, fresh food, a happy, accessible staff and no hassles, from check in to check out.
Keep in mind too, that travelers need to be open minded, because, well, shit happens. Be realistic in your expectations of a property based on price and destination. Don’t expect a 40 floor Hyatt in Bologna with seven elevators. Don’t expect the speediness of the the northeast in Jamaica. Get what you paid for, but be cognizant of the differences in your homeland and your vacation spot. That is why you travel. Also, remember that customer care and customer service are not about what happens when you don’t have a problem, it’s how they react when you DO have a problem, and how they correct it. If there is an issue, report it to management and give them a chance to react reasonably.
My job at Perillo Tours before I had Devin was (as archaic as it is now,), answering letters and calls from the happies and the not-so-happies. When the not-so-happies were not budging, we needed to make amends, and let them know we wanted them back again to make it right. I take that philosophy with me wherever I go.
Passengers do have responsibilities as well, but the onus is on the company to make it right, within reason. My goal is not to put anybody out of business or to smear a reputation or two, but to get them to “straighten up and fly right,” . Nobody can get their time, their life or their kids’ ages back.
Money is replaceable, but the time shared and moments granted can never be replaced.
My dad had this on the back of his brochure many years ago, and I noticed that many companies have adopted it. I love it, and it puts travelers in a realistic frame of mind as well ...
A TRAVELER’s TEN COMMANDMENTS
In the end, it takes two to tango, but a vacation is not like any returnable item, and for this I say that properties need to be as perfect as they can be, and remember ... returning customers are 90% of good business.