When we survey buyers to find what they see as the characteristics of a good proposal, “a logical structure” always comes near the top of their wish list – never mind that their RFPs are often so illogically organised as to make responding in a coherent way nigh on impossible!
I was reminded of this recently whilst staying in an ever-so-trendy new hotel in the Middle East – part of an international chain, clearly keen to impress its guests and win awards by making everything as cool as possible. I’d finished running the first day of a two-day course, and decided it’d be good to go for a dip in the hotel’s pool. But where to find it in the hotel? I knew it was described on their website as a “rooftop pool” – yet I also knew that I’d been to the top floor of the hotel the previous evening, eaten in the lovely bar, and seen neither sight nor sound of anywhere to swim.
Time, I thought, to consult the hotel’s directory. Being new and slick and modern, my room didn’t offer me anything so old-fashioned as a booklet of information – everything I might need to know being on their lovely interactive online system. I fished around to find where I’d hidden the remote control (how *had* it ended up so far under the bed?), flicked on the TV, and loaded the menu. And here were the choices that faced me:
Eat and drink
“Swimming pool”, perchance? No such luck. I guessed at “amuse” or “abuzz”, but neither of those contained anything remotely helpful – so, in frustration, I gave up and phoned reception.
I was left reflecting on the triumph of style over substance – both the format and the structure of the content doubtless making so much sense to the hotel’s design team – but being useless, frustrating, frankly downright annoying for their customers. Like, dare I say, a fair number of proposals…