“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
The following intentionally omits naming any businesses, as the goal is to find solutions.
Recent headlines proclaim that Port Angeles is headed for a record year of tourism related activities. And, this is based upon the number of people staying in local hotels and motels. The numbers calculated do not include those passing through Port Angeles on their way to different destinations.
As readers will remember, the Port O Call has been highlighting the amount of tax money given by the City to a number of economic development entities in the area to promote tourism. More recently, the City has been paying a bit more attention to what that money has been spent on, and has asked both the Port Angeles Downtown Association and the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce for a more detailed accounting of monies spent. In part, this is to determine how effective the tourism marketing efforts have actually been. Is the record number of visits due to local marketing efforts, or the result of a general trend in the nation’s recession-weary population taking advantage of the summer holiday season? (Tourism is setting records throughout the U.S. and in other countries this year).
But, what are visitors saying about their stays in Port Angeles? How do the hotels and motels in Port Angeles rank by these tourists’ evaluation? Consider these recent comments:
“Filthy blanket, big stains on sheets, toilet installed crooked, found out in the morning that it wouldn’t flush. Unable to open windows. Room smelled musty and medicinal. Couldn’t wait to get home and take a bath and wash everything that was with me.”
“Run, Don’t Walk. This place is a rat hole”.
“..Noisy, uncomfortable, in poor repair, smelly, and generally an unpleasant evening.”
“Great Location, Property in Sad Shape. We were “upgraded” to a suite, which had a large living room/kitchenette but was in terrible repair. One of the large windows in the living room (which could have provided a nice view) had a 4 foot long crack in it which had been crossed taped to stabilize the breakage (and clearly wasn’t recent), the carpet was badly stained.”
“I have spent the greater part of my life in motels on the road and I haven’t been in one this sleazy in at least two decades.”
Of course, there are plenty of positive reviews for hotels in Port Angeles, but the list of comments like those above is unacceptably long. Of particular concern are the numerous negative reports from visitors to a recently renovated facility that was inspected and approved by City staff. Some were so offended by what they encountered, they posted pictures on-line for the whole world to see.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent each year to promote visiting Port Angeles, but how much time and attention is spent on what these visitors find, once they get here? Does the City or the Chamber send out a minimum standards checklist? Does anybody inspect the hotels and motels to verify that they meet minimum standards? Are there annual inspections of any kind? If any, by whom?
A recent visitors’ account: “I found a small spec of what looked like blood on the sheet… the next morning on a whim I checked under the mattress I was shocked and panicked when I found 5 used syringes. I had slept on top of them!! I contacted the front desk and he offered me a measly discount of 20% No way! I spent the next half hour trying to get a full refund. The male and female at the front desk were telling me that it was my job to check for stuff upon my check in. They lied to me and tried to swindle me. All they cared about was losing money on a room… They don’t care about customers! Avoid these bandits and dishonest people at all costs!!”
It is said, “A good reputation is hard to get, but a bad one is hard to lose.” Imagine how many times the tourists who found the used syringes under their mattress would tell that story. How many people will speak of Port Angeles as “run down”, “tired”, “in need of repairs”?
A lot of community time and effort has been put into finding ways to increases the numbers of visitors to Port Angeles. But moving Port Angeles forward takes more than talk and meetings. More than endless disconnected make-work government funded improvement projects. Perhaps the City Council will consider an on-going entity to investigate and help businesses resolve these issues?
Business owners and their employees/representatives are the primary contacts with visitors. The community has to give the honest impression that it cares about the visitors coming to Port Angeles. The investments in upgrades and repairs need to be made.
The customer is always right…