Big problems and big smiles

As most of you are aware we headed down to Butlin’s in Bognor for a midweek break for Elizabeth’s birthday. What we didn’t expect was the huge downpour of rain that fell on the south of England. Getting down to Portsmouth was not a problem but the 40 minute journey from there turned into a 4 hour nightmare culminating in us driving through what basically looked like a lake and was up to the passenger door window when we were in the middle.

Through this whole journey I have had Butlin’s Customer services helping me out with traffic advice, informing me of road closures and trying to help me in any way they could. By the time we got within 3 miles of the resort we had made up our minds that if it came to it we would dump the car and walk in but luckily it didn’t come to that.

Once on resort we checked in easily enough but I am aware that other families were not so lucky but more on that in a minute. Some of the entertainment schedule for the evening had to change as Lazytown were due to perform but they are an outside entertainment company so they couldn’t get through to the resort but it was all done very smoothly and all the staff were calm and smiling. Certain facilities were closed like the gift shop and some of the restaurants but Butlin’s extended the opening hours of other restaurants to cope with the demand.

As I mentioned above some guests had trouble checking in and that was due to one area of the resort flooding so some of the ground floor apartments were unusable and the upper floors were inaccessible. Butlin’s staff have worked tirelessly over the day to rectify this with water being pumped out and areas being made safe.

Guests who were leaving today were being given maps on the gates to show the only road out of Bognor that was open but the communications from the local police was contradictory at times with open roads actually being closed and closed roads actually being opened. People were being sent back to the resort and obviously the Butlin’s staff have tried to find alternative accommodation for them too which includes local hotels and b&b’s to cope with the demand.

As I took a walk around resort at 10 o’clock in the evening you can still see staff cleaning up the damage, talking to guests and generally trying to do anything they can to make life easier but all the while they have had a smile on their face. I feel a lot for the staff here today who have worked longer hours than normal due to staff shortages and they have had to put up with a lot of guests who were less than polite.

I popped into guest services just before coming back to my room and I saw staff still hard at work allocating every room as it became available. See those two men in the middle? One of those is the Resort Hospitality manager and the other, well I am pretty sure he was his boss. In times of great adversity it is all hands on deck and today at Butlin’s is no exception.

So I just want to say well done because today was a really bad day for everyone but your perseverance and resilience have made today better when it could have made it worse.