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RubyConf India - Hospitality was anything but pleasant at The Lalit resort and spa, Goa
Mar 24, 2014 • 11 minutes

RubyConf India 14 - Hospitality was anything but pleasant at The Lalit resort and spa, Goa, we had pretty bitter experience and would like to capture it here. And please suggest me where else can we do this, send us email at team at the rubyconfindia.org

About RubyConf India

We are a not-for-profit conference run by community support, only thing special about us is that we run a pretty high quality conference run in a pretty hotels. We get around 450+ participants on an average from 20+ countries and 60+ cities every year for last 5 years. The reason we choose a serene and nice place to conduct the conference so that participants should not worry about food, stay, ambience, atmosphere, weather and focus on talking to new people, learning from them and helping each other.

Note - We host our conference in a city for two consecutive years.

RubyConf India 2014

As usual and like every year we started our preparation pretty early, as early as July 2013. We reached out multiple hotels and banquet halls and finalized on The Lalit, Goa.

They sent us pretty strict payment schedule. Initial estimate only for reservation + minimum guarantee for rooms came to around 30L. And they wanted us to start paying for the conference in March 2014, as early as August 2013. While we discussed and talked to them, I don’t think that they don’t understand anything but business. The payment schedule required 25% as early as 6 months before the conference and without any interest, failure to comply with anything will result in cancellatio. Btw, we have dealt with Hotels like Hyatt and Royal Orchid, and booked as early as 6 months, but never had been troubled this much.

The internet Saga

Fast forward March 2014, we checkin 3 days ago, 19th March to finalize few more things and look after arrangements such as backdrops, standees, sponsorship materials and other facilities such as internet access. The only thing which was left with the Lalit was the internet access, and they first told us Rs 800 per participant per day, simply INR 3,20,000 per day. Hotel has 8 mbps line, which we were never able utilize. Anyway, we tried to convince them saying people need WiFi only on devices, people we will not be using for heavy access during the day because they will be attending it. It took them 4 days - just few hours prior to when people starting coming to finalize rates and give us coupons. We never had this pathetic experience about internet anywhere and no other hotel treats internet as Gold. But anyway, we negotiated and succummbed to their demand, paid 1.5Lacs for internet access, which mostly did not work. Our participants are community, one of the nicest and tolerant community, which understands that what we do is for each other.

Enter the weddding and we are literally f**, for being nice guys!

I am sorry to use such a bad language but this is what happens - 1:00 PM, I get a call saying come over to reception there is a problem. (I got huge fever previous night, and after opening the conference on saturday went back to my room to take rest)

At 1:00 PM, we are told that our banquent hall got double booked and they need it decorate it for the wedding following day - 23rd March, 2014. We booked Banquet hall for 22nd and 23rd Night. So we have to hand over it right now, we said no, Hotel guys were pretty sure about it and they said sir, you are booked on 21st and 22nd. Gautam said, “Please check your contract and and we are sure that conference is on 22nd and 23rd March”, they did ont budge, talked to us rudely, but then realized it, hotel clearly had double booked us. The manager, GM, DM and everyone was pretty nice to us and was trying to cover up their mistake. We kind of thought to be accomodative and asked them what is the solution. Here is what they proposed.

With this, our AV partner freaked out, while everyone was trying to convince us, we discussed among ourself, and we such we can’t screw up someone’s wedding and if this happens to us, we would have been upset, shit happens, mistakes happens, lets co-operate. I told Hotel Manager that please discuss that how you are going to execute this, talk to me before taking any steps and then do it.

Now, we thought they will come back to us, but nothing like that happened. 7:00 PM, first day gets over, suddenly few house keeping staff moves in and started folding chairs, then someone comes and drop and big white polythene sheet infront of our stage and starts putting stuff, please note, all our arrangements are still there, when we asked about it, they said that they gonna replace existing stage with new one! I was totally freaked out, started looking for hotel staff, I could get some one, asked him, he said, sir, I was just coming to you to tell you whats happening. Now, go through this series of events un-folded.

Saturday, 22nd March
Sunday, 23rd March
Monday, 24th March

At that moment, I realized that we were fools. The Lalit did following things to us

The events have been depicted in a very plane manner.

We learned that you should strike when you can, thats why a simple security guard also treats you like shit, this culture is crap. WE never experienced this in past. so sad that this happened to us, please understand we spend around 50L on rubyconfindia and most of that went to The Lalit, and still they could not let us go for even 10K outstanding?