Unless you’ve been sitting in an underground bunker so as to avoid storms you will know that we’ve had a bit of stormy weather over the last few weeks. Last week (6th – 14th February 2014) was probably the worst for us around here. I live on the Isle of Anglesey, looking over the Menai Straits at the “Snowdonia” mountains. We were hit by a southerly gale. The Holyhead Port weather station told us that the wind was force 10 gusting to force 12 (which is hurricane force). It then went to F11 gusting to F12 and then our power went off in the house. If you know anything about the Beaufort Scale you’ll know that it only goes up to Force 12 and so if the wind was Force 11 then the gusts were well above Force 12! Winds were recorded of 108 mph on the end of the Llywn peninsula which is a touch gusty.
Here at Cadair View Lodge we’d put a lot of effort into promoting our Valentine’s weekend stays as we are known for romantic breaks. We had lots of guests booked in for 2 night stays arriving on Friday 14th and for longer stays beginning over the weekend (as it was the first half term week). Although the worst of the storm was on Wednesday the power to the log cabins hadn’t been reconnected on Friday morning and there was no schedule for its return. The local transformer at Bronaber was standing at a precarious angle and engineers were “swarming” all around it I was told. Somebody else said that it looked like a big job to repair it. As all of the cabins are heated and lit by electricity we had to make a decision over what to do. Of course this was complicated by our local mobile phone mast being down meaning our operations manager having to drive to Dolgellau (a 24 mile round trip) each time he needed to update me in the office.
We took the decision to phone everybody who was booked to stay and give them the options to cancel with full refund, to move their stay until a later date (at no extra cost) or to sit tight until later in the day in case the situation changed. A guest coming from London and who wasn’t planning to leave until early evening decided to sit tight for news but all of the others asked for a refund so that they could try to find somewhere else for the night. Of all nights Valentine’s Night when people build themselves up for a romantic stay! With a heavy heart I refunded all of the money… after a long winter giving people money back on what looked to be such a good earning weekend was difficult I must say.
Just before lunchtime the call came (after another trip to Dolgellau) that the power was back on (but, as seems to be usual, the phone mast wasn’t)! More phone calls back around everyone… “The power’s back on! We don’t know whether it’ll stay on but we’ve got he heating on in all of the cabins… come if you are prepared to take the chance”. EVERYBODY said that they were prepared to take to make a go of it. One lady said that she didn’t want to go anywhere else. She’d researched her stay for so long she couldn’t even contemplate anything else. A regular guest said that February half term wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t stay with us.
So my afternoon was spent reprocessing all of the payments.
We made sure that all of the cabins had new batteries in the torches and that there were candles available. We advised everybody to bring a flask and to keep a flask of hot water at all times during their stay so that if the power went off again at least they could have a hot drink.
Guests started to arrive from 3pm. Some had obviously kept their cars packed just in case they could come and had jumped in the moment we gave the all clear.
The electricity did stay on but the weather wasn’t very pleasant on either Friday or Saturday. Sunday morning, our guests awoke to clear blue skies, sunshine and spectacular views of the mountains. A couple of guests had booked late stays and so they had the opportunity to enjoy it but I felt sorry for those who were leaving us during the morning. At least they’d had a chance to see why people come back to us again and again.
Now the feedback is coming in and it makes all of the hard work worth while.
“Thanks for your amazing customer service – you kept us informed and did everything possible to make sure our Valentines’ weekend went ahead”.
“Now we’ve seen how stunning your location is – even if just whilst we were packing to come home – we will definitely be back”.
“You made sure that we were cosy and warm, even with the foul weather outside – we will be back”.
“Our family will love it here… please can we book for New Year?”.
“As always, fantastic, friendly customer service with nothing being too much trouble. Once again thank you for all of your hard work. We’ll see you again soon.”
Lastly, of course, I must thank the people who made the weekend possible for these guests, the Scottish Power engineers. The power companies themselves are (rightly or wrongly) criticised endlessly but it’s the engineers and linesmen (and women I assume) who put themselves at risk in dreadful conditions and work long hours to restore our power. THANK YOU!
If you’d like to know more about what we offer and our location see the Cadair View Lodge website or call us on 01978 759603 – personal, friendly, helpful service not an online booking system!