Dear Jill and Joe Public
Yes, unfortunately we have had to close our gate to day visitors. This was after very careful consideration and after just one-too-many problems. What is interesting is that our regular guests have supported this move entirely.
So, why would we seem to be so unaccommodating and so inhospitable? After all, a potential day visitor could be a potential guest.
Well, to begin with, to try and control the number of visitors each day we implemented a R50 charge per car and we limited the number of vehicles to 5 at any one time. But sadly even with this measure in place, the day visitors didn’t really play a fair game.
On arrival at our gate day visitors are informed that facilities are for in-house guests only. But, this didn’t stop families from taking their picnics and setting up camp at the swimming pool. Or having large children jumping and breaking the playground equipment. Or packing their rods and enjoying a bit of trout fishing! While this seems so arbitrary, when it happens time and time again, and impinges on our own guests’ experiences, then something does have to change. Consider too that many day visitors come into the resort, log into the free Wi-Fi, take over the lounges and aren’t really even aware of their infringement on someone else’s stay.
We also ran a Snack Menu for some time. During our peak periods we are feeding well over 180 people 3 meals per day. Approximately 140 adult eaters, about 25 under 6’s and about 50 staff. Our kitchen is incredibly busy and when day visitors didn’t get their snack menu order in 20 minutes many would huff and puff and disappear without paying the bill. So, it is important to really focus on what you do and do that well. We aren’t in the fast food business and we needed to stop complicating systems and ensure our own guests were well fed and watered.
But, the final straw came when a day visitor family arrived at The Cavern and to start their merry day, they had a short walk through the Forest. They then proceeded to the dining room and helped themselves to the lunch buffet. When the Head Waiter spoke to them, they brushed him off saying they were staying in Room 65. A very nice looking family, well-dressed, with grandparents and parents and children. They then shopped at our small curio store and it was only after I challenged them on the lawn did they finally admit that they were actually not in-house guests and that they would pay for the meal they’d just taken. Who does this?
In a resort where we run an inclusive tariff, it’s tricky keeping track of those masquerading as guests. So, after considering the facts and actually remembering that our guests have paid for their special getaway, we closed our gate.
A recent Google commentator wrote: NOT for day visitors. But they only tell you so when you arrive at the gate. Yes, laws for signage mean that we are not able to erect signs down the road. But, my wonder is always, why wouldn’t you first phone and check?
During quieter periods we do welcome families but we ask them to meet the Receptionist on the lawn and they are taken on a small introductory tour. It is amazing that even when this is set up how many people duck and dive. Why?
So, if you are a potential guest and really are considering a visit, phone us. We’ll arrange a meeting, we’ll take you on a walk about, show you some rooms and you’d be very welcome to stay for coffee.
Jill & Joe Public are tricky to control and I suppose when Jill & Joe continue to disappoint then changes do need to happen. This may not make everyone happy but we are working hard at ensuring that our guests have a fabulous stay and sometimes that means others may be excluded.