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My diary: IFC Business Edge/New Brookfields Hotel

Saturday 23rd May – IFC’s Business Edge Training of Trainers starts on Monday at New Brookfields Hotel (NBH). Due to the works on Wilberforce Road, it’s going to be very challenging leaving from home every day. I decided to move into the hotel for the week. Sent an e-mail to ‘reservations’, but got no response. Called all the numbers on the website several times during the day and eventually got through to ‘housekeeping’ who told me to call back. I insisted I needed to speak to ‘reservations’ and he put me through. The rate per night was $150, I was asked how much I wanted to pay which totally confused me, and then was offered $130 which I accepted.

Sunday 24th May – Checked in at NBH. My receipt was handwritten on paper cut out of a ruled exercise book. Room clean and beautifully decorated. It also had an energy-saving card system. Felt slightly nervous about training the next day as I was not entirely sure what to expect. Ordered fish pepper soup with a can of ginger ale for dinner – no wine, bottled Heineken or coke available. Got a call back about 15 minutes later – fish would take a while to defrost. I was offered squid instead. The meal was horrible. Onions were not cooked properly, too much tomato and it was weird eating squid in a soup. I enjoyed the bread though. I signed the handwritten invoice which the waitress was reluctant to accept, as she wanted cash. I told her I did not have any.

Monday 25th May – IFC Business Edge training started at 9am. Conference room was spacious, well lit, tidy and comfortable. There were 11 other participants and I had met or interacted with at least half of them. Loved the trainer – I could see we were going to have a fun week and learn a lot. I looked forward to it. We had tasty jollof rice for lunch. At the end of a long day, I ordered dinner for 7.30. At 7.45, the lady from reception called to ask what I wanted to do for dinner and I told her I had already ordered. Half an hour later, I called her back for an update and she said the meal was ready and was on its way to my room. Before I ordered dinner, I went to front desk to pick up my shower gel which had been dropped off for me. The lady was not aware of any packages left for my room, so she called her colleague who had worked on the earlier shift to enquire whether she had received the charger. She found package on the desk when she realized what she was looking for.

Wednesday 27th May – Today was a long day (we agreed on Monday that we would start at 7.30am for the rest of the week) and we did a short presentation exercise which tested one of the methodologies we had learnt. We had up to five minutes to present and I completed mine in just over a minute. I was so nervous, but felt I did well and feedback was good. I had an 8pm meeting. The lady from reception brought guest straight up to my room and I guided him down to the restaurant where I had the most delicious fish pepper soup and my new favourite drink, ginger ale. On my way back to my room I asked her why she had taken the man to my room and she said the phone was not working. I asked her what she should have done and she said she should have told him to wait at reception and gone upstairs herself or sent someone. She apologized. That got me thinking – training is not the answer because she knew what to do. How do you get someone to do the right thing just because it’s the right thing?

Thursday 28th May – Didn’t sleep very well as I kept waking up thinking about my long presentation. I was confident about my flipchart presentation, but anxious about delivery. I remembered the techniques and prayed they would stay with me throughout. Went to my room during the break and the door was open with no one in sight. About 5 minutes later, the cleaner emerged from the next room and I asked if she had left my room open and she answered in the affirmative. I told her I had my laptop and other personal items in my room and it was wrong of her to leave my door open and lock herself in another room. She gave me a blank look and apologized. She took her card out of the holder and locked the door after I insisted. We had the best mashed potatoes with fish, steamed veg and gravy for lunch. My presentation went really well – feedback from the trainer and my colleagues was very positive. We received our certificates and I was selected, among 4 others, to complete the Training of Assessors the following day. My presentation was also voted ‘Best long practice’ and I got a beautiful kente scarf from the trainer. Picked up dinner from the restaurant for a friend; this time the invoice was a purple post-it note and I got it back as a receipt with ‘cash received’ written on it.

Friday 29th May – Final day! The ‘Training of Assessors’ course had a lot of material and activities, but was calm and even quite relaxing. We started at 7.30 and finished at 5pm. I checked out of the hotel immediately after. Manager was back from leave and system was printing again, so I got a proper invoice and receipt, and even swapped the purple post-it for a receipt. Walked up Wilberforce Road, slipping and sliding over the mud and made it across the makeshift bridge into my compound. I definitely did not miss this.

I loved my stay at the New Brookfields Hotel and I believe that with the right attitude, service can only get better.

Now all I need to do is find new business, so I can get a return on my investment. SMEs, here we (JobSearch) come!

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