How to Run a Navy Recreational Facility:
Congratulations! You’ve now assumed responsibility for and management of the fabulous White Beach Naval Getaway. It’s a proud location with a rich history, and not much else—you’re going to love it. Here are some pointers, some dos and don’ts to get you started on your adventure serving customers as a Navy Morale, Welfare, and Recreation facility manager.
First, keep in mind that the customers are probably mostly sailors. They’re used to a level of suck that you and I don’t put up with in our day-to-day lives, so when you need to cut corners and save some money, don’t hesitate to take it out of services you provide your guests.
In fact, if you’re honest, you’ll quickly learn that needy, whining guests are the cause of most of your headaches. They’re always wanting stupid things like someone to answer the phone at the Reservations desk, or to be there when it’s time to check in. You don’t actually have to put someone there all hours of the day; after ten or twelve unanswered rings, most customers stop calling.
Email is another dangerous means by which customers will contact you. Not only will they try to use the Reservations mailbox—they might contact your staff members directly. Here’s a pro-tip: no one has to actually read anything customers send. For example, when a customer mentions a problem with one of your required forms and asks for help, ignore that part and send them a six-word email to tell them you still need that signed form. Three exclamation points should convey the right professional sentiment.
Occasionally one gets through to reserve a room. That’s where your fun begins! People will show up expecting something like a hotel room or typical lodging experience, with basic provisions like soap, TV programming, or Internet access. Maybe something as simple as paper towels. You’ll save money and channel more customers to the overpriced mini-mart if you don’t provide standard accommodations. Kill two birds with one stone–after you squeeze some blood out of it.
It’s not really up to you, but if you can help it, make sure there are swarms of ants everywhere guests might go—zigzagging across the walkway leading up to the door, marching in columns up the doorframe, wriggling into the room, running on the walls, climbing on the couch or the bed or the people on those pieces of furniture. Don’t ever mention this—it’s part of the excitement of “roughing it” that guests obviously expect from a Naval Getaway. We have some standards to uphold, and they are low. You’ll do great.
When you advertise services, here’s a neat trick: don’t give specific details like hours or days of availability. At the check-in desk, for example, we’ve placed a convenient ad for breakfast in the solitary restaurant—which is really just a bar that also serves a variety of greasy food. Let the customers see that and plan for breakfast, then surprise them in the morning with locked doors and darkened rooms. “That’s just on Sunday,” you can explain, with a shake of the head and a condescending tone. Moments like that give you a chance to vent frustration while also channeling customers to the Subway stand—it’s good for everybody! They’ll serve up a freezer-aisle-style breakfast sandwich, “toasting” the frozen meat on top of the bread to keep it soggy and soft—easy on the gums!
When asked if everything is open, say yes, but mean no. For example, the beach is “open” but you can post signs with big red letters warning swimmers, “Jellyfish, swim at own risk.” They might see the enclosed pool across the street and think, “That’s okay, I’ll swim there.” That’s when you can spring the news on them that the swimming pool is closed… like the cable and Internet service in all the cabins. Be sure to remind them of all the ways they can incur additional fees, though, as this is valuable information—unlike interruptions of expected service you advertise as available.
You can throw guests a bone and place complimentary Keurig coffee next to the posted warning about lead in the water—you might help someone kick the caffeine habit! Now you’re paying it forward.
You’re off to a great start thus far, but there are still more corners to cut. Housekeeping workers shouldn’t actually have to scrub the shower clean; a slimy floor can be a fun adventure. A little dirt on the toilet seat never hurt anyone either, so you can leave those weird stains to set into the plastic. If you don’t put light fixtures into the shower, people will only use the water in the daytime instead of running up the electrical bill during the night. You know what would be a good thing to have in the shower? A towel to dry off while still getting sprayed. That’s why we feature a conveniently placed towel rack on the inside of the shower door.
On top of that, as long as there are no visible stains, bed sheets can totally be reused by multiple sets of guests. A stray hair or two in the already-made bed can be the source of fun contemplation as your tenants sort out the mystery of how it got there and what they might be sleeping in.
Beyond that, the little details and subtle touches are what separates your Naval Getaway from all the other available options. Ideally, your ceiling tiles should have a variety of shades ranging from peppered grey with mold or dust, to water-stained brown at the edges, to gleaming white like new. Think of it like a mosaic, and raise the price of your artistically designed and decorated cabin.
Armed with these ideas as a foundation, you’re ready to lead this facility into a mire of mediocrity… which is good in its own way. Even if customers don’t repeat their visit, the advertising and the panoramic vistas will still lure in enough unsuspecting sots to fleece. Striving to be the best on island would waste a lot of time, effort, and resources. Someone has to come in last place, and it might as well be you.