And so it is, just as they said it would be…..here today, gone tomorrow.
As I was walking to work on Tuesday, there was a different feel in the air, and with the flags that had become an all to familiar site on Park Lane being taken down, I felt somewhat dejected – and there is probably some way to fall yet before my Olympic hangover really kicks in.
This has been an amazing time for me, our hotel and pretty much everyone else in the world with a heart. I am not sure there was anyone who really thought that London would pull off such an amazing games, and as I look back to one of my recent posts, I too had my doubts. But there were many occasions on which the moment engulfed me and I secretly held back more than a single tear, as athlete after athlete stood out for their grit, determination and sheer belief that it was their time – British or otherwise, so many “WOW” moments stand out that will stay with me for a long time to come.
I think that the overall lesson that was learnt from the whole experience was one of “yes we can” and this was very prevalent within the hotel itself. Over the course of the games we welcomed hundreds of guests, staying thousands of room nights and spending even more within our outlets, taking over all events space available to them. It is very hard to describe an Olympic set up – as the space fills with representatives of your groups, their agents guests and then all sorts of branding and physical reminders appear everywhere, as you are whisked as a major player in to the circus….ringmaster or otherwise – and as I was standing at the final party and watching the team and how they had bonded – I could easily see how the games themselves could be considered addictive.
You spend a very long time working even longer hours and pushing yourself in a way that you never previously have. Everything is intensified, the expectation of the guest, the need to get things right first time around and a zero tolerance for anything not “perfect”. You don’t totally appreciate the chain that exists, from the client and their clients, down through you and on to the housekeeping team, the porters and servers in the events space – given the length of the event, there is no off button and whether you are at your desk or on the floor it is all encompassing. In some ways it is then very obvious why the fall thereafter is so big. As I heard it described on the radio, its a little like a holiday romance, and at this time I am feeling a little heartbroken.
You also have to consider that your clients have held this same styled event on many different occasions – they know what they want. It was also interesting therefore, to see how often people needed to hear something – the same something – before really believing it to be true. I refer mainly to the need to step outside of the box when it came to thinking for yourself versus having others think for you. One doesn’t realise just how much we are robotic when it comes to our service, representatives of the company we work for and their set of rules and regulations. On occasion you create a “WOW” and in doing so step briefly in to the unknown. For this event, in areas such as rooms, we had to take a real step backwards and stick to a very rigid schedule that sometimes didn’t make sense. Some people still don’t understand it.
For me personally, living in this bubble was actually a real breath of fresh air, and for the first time in a long time I was able to really feel free and more in control than I have been able to for several months now. As the games drew to a close, it also became clear that the Olympics would be very much seen as “yesterday”, and even as I write this, there is a pile of work waiting for me to dive in to – with September upon us and the memories distant.
So, with a couple of days rest scheduled and no time to dwell, we shift gears once again and try to take the positive feeling the games provided and harness them for the busy season ahead. I would love to hear how you were involved in the Olympics and what lessons you learnt as an individual or business.
I will miss the feeling the last two weeks provided, proud as I am to have played a genuine part in something special.