Monday, July 21, 2008

Great Customer Service Leads To Water Slide

It had been an extremely long day driving out of Colorado, through Wyoming and into South Dakota. We had pushed hard throughout the morning and early afternoon to get to South Dakota so that we could see the Crazy Horse Memorial as well as Mt. Rushmore on our official "final day" of fun vacation stuff. We made both monuments without any problem and majestic would be an understated word to describe both sites. We were truly blown away and so glad we had added the stops to our Harper Family Road Trip 2008.

When we left Mt. Rushmore, our second stop of the day, we were ready to make it into Rapid City, South Dakota, find our hotel and let the kids enjoy the waterpark that was apparently part of the allure for why Kathy had picked that particular hotel as our place of slumber. We were all tired. We were all cranky. We were all on each others' nerves. Those final 20 minutes from Rushmore seemed like an absolute eternity.

The thing you need to know about us is we are a wing it family. We did not make reservations for this particular hotel because we weren't 100% sure when or if we would even be staying in Rapid City. We decided if this apparently popular hotel had a room for us then so be it. If not, then we would suffer the consequences (which would be hours upon hours of whining and crying from the boys about the promised waterpark) and find another place to lay our heads.

We drove into Rapid City and our map was unclear as to how to get to the hotel. The website information Kathy had printed off became clear as mud; potentially a side effect from our worn out state at the time. I pulled up my trusty iPhone and tapped in the address and viola! Still lost! I surrendered and asked Kathy to give me the number which I promptly dialed.

A wonderfully upbeat woman answered on the other end. I inquired about directions on how to get to where she was from the road I was currently on. She gave great directions and as we were about to disengage I just happened to ask if they had any rooms available. "You mean you don't have a reservation?" I replied with the obvious. A tiny uncomfortable laugh escaped her mouth and she said, "Let me check. Hmmm yes you are in luck we have one room left - it's a suite, what's your name...." I gave her my appropriate information and pushed on the gas.

I high tailed it over to the hotel and walked in to a smiling face that I just knew had to be the woman I had just spoken to moments ago. I started to say my name as I approached the desk and she said, "You must be Steve." The warm confident young lady instantly made this last leg of my trip an absolute pleasure. "I have everything ready for you sir. We didn't talk about price though. That suite is a bit pricey at $ 249. I hope that is okay?"

The price was higher than Kathy had printed out, though in truth, it was for a bigger more spacious room. I said, "No problem. Thank you so much for holding it for me." She smiled and processed my key. "What time does the waterpark close?" I asked.

"You just made it. It closes at 9PM." It was 7:15.

"Great. Does our room key get us access?" I asked.

"No sir. The waterpark is $ 49.95" I instantly assumed that meant per person. The color left my face. My kids would be crushed. We can't pay $ 49.95 per person for just 1.5 hours. Oh it was going to be a long night for sure I thought to myself.

"Listen is there any kind of discount we might be able to get given there is only a few hours left and we can't take advantage of the park tomorrow as we are leaving really early?" As with most things in life you never know for sure until you ask.

She reached below her desk and with an enthusiastic smile she said, "Here, it's on the house." She gave me four waterpark wrist bands. I was overwhelmed by her random generosity. I wasn't looking for it to be free and actually argued with her that I would pay something, anything. She refused and said, "You better step on it. The kids are going to want as much time as they can get. You will too," she smiled.

She was absolutely right. After a very long but incredible day I got to see my boys and Kathy absolutely illuminate as they popped out of the three story water slides, got sprayed by the water flood and lazily traveled throughout the lazy river. It was a blast and something we all enjoyed immensly. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day (crankiness and other illustrative issues left off for posterity) and something that I am sure our entire family will remember for the rest of our lives.

I later called down to the front desk to inquire about food delivery options and Ms. Ya the fine young woman that helped me earlier answered. She again was spot on with her suggestions and before I hung up I just had to tell her once again how much my entire family appreciated her act of generosity. You could hear her upbeat voice pick up an octave or two as this direct show of appreciation bouyed her already enthusiastic spirit.

I later discovered that the hotel's discount was for $ 49.95 for up to five people so I misunderstood the pricing she gave me for the water park admission. Whether it was $ 49.95 or $ 200.00 the simple act of what Ms. Ya did made such an impression on me and was so appreciated by our entire family. It was a definite highlight of our amazing trip. La Quinta will absolutely be hearing from me because as you all know, good customer service is something that needs to be recognized and appreciated as this experience is no exception.

And of course...if you ever find yourself in Rapid City, South Dakota I would absolutely suggest you stay at the La Quinta and check out the WaTiki Waterpark but be sure to make a reservation and get there early to give ample time to enjoy the water slides. They were scary as hell for a guy like me but if my kids could do it I refused to be a wimp and not partake. I am glad I did.

If you go be sure to ask for Ms. Ya and tell her the Ripple Guy sent you!

Ripple On!!!

1 comment:

Sue said...

Oh what a coincidence! Josh and I were just talking about Mt. Rushmore and taking a trip out there. I'll certainly remember this! THANKS!

:-) And I will definitely mention your name if we do make it there!