Passion versus Profit?

When coming back from a well-deserved holiday, have you ever asked yourself, what are the moments you remember and what are the moments you would rather forget?

Let’s start with the memorable moments:

A reasonably pleasant flight on Qantas.  Very little can go wrong with a self check-in these days – contact with humans is restricted, so that eliminates rude counter staff…

One does fly Qantas largely for safety reasons and not their so-called “friendly staff” or food and water bottles that are getting smaller by the month…

Arriving in Sydney, our “International Citizen of the World” taxi driver managed to find our hotel – eventually! It has been around for 30 plus years in Surry Hills, so should not have been too much of a challenge, but another success story – we need to celebrate small wins, especially regarding Sydney taxis!

That about sums up the positives…

Checking into our 4 star hotel must have been a world first; we arrived to find the lobby packed with two busloads of extremely noisy tourists. A Bellboy, with zero social skills, checked us in. He had no idea what to do or how to operate the credit card machine, asking numerous questions that were almost certainly already in his computer system. If you use Bellboys for reception duties, please at least train them…

When we booked in February, we selected a twin room and when we arrived (late December), asked if we had been allocated the requested room type, and was told,” yes of course”, by our Bellboy. When we got to our room of course, we found a king size bed and not the requested twin. Furthermore, the room booked was with balcony which on the second floor, was right above the back of the hotel and glorious scenic views of the garbage collection area.

It is really amazing what hotels can get away with these days. Housekeeping was non-existent. Days without towels and when we asked for towels were given face towels and not bath towels. In the 4 nights we stayed, the floor was not vacuumed once. The balcony was littered with cigarette butts when we arrived and were still there when we left.

It is sad to see a hotel so badly run, that individual guests seem to be put in the same category with the hoards on tour groups who appeared to have never seen a hotel before, judging by their behaviour.

The question is, is there any passion left for the lofty ideals of the hospitality business or is it now all about profits and money? When room rates over New Year’s Eve are 5 times higher than those on normal days, I think you have your answer.

What about the city itself?

Well, one does have to say that public parks are being well kept and the Botanic Gardens are still the jewel in the crown.

While Sydney puts on the all-important fireworks with great pride, the city otherwise needs to have a good hard look (and smell) at itself. It has become desperately shabby, and the smell follows you everywhere, from Paddington to the CBD and down to the harbour foreshore and Rocks.

Sadly, this is not what one expects of a so-called “world class city”. Maybe next year some money can be spent to wash down the streets and put some effort into keeping the place clean.

It really reinforces the image of being a superficial city with very little depth.

Having said all that, one must give praise to the organizers of the fireworks who made sure the entire foreshore looked clean by next morning. You wouldn’t have noticed that there were several hundred thousand people around the night before.

Being a former resident of Sydney for many years, it is heartbreaking to see how the city has been run-down and neglected.

Maybe we can recommend to the people in positions of authority, to try and walk the city streets and open their noses (and eyes) to get an impression of the tourist experience. It would be nice if Sydney was something special as in times past, rather than just another big, characterless, dirty city.

About the author

rsz_karl_faux_ccKarl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.
For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net

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