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At the Gatrooms hotels in Lisbon and Berlin, we think of our teams as superhumans working hard to offer our guests the perfect hotel experience. This task can sometimes be challenging, but they always nail it in the end. In order to reveal what goes into creating “the perfect stay at Gatrooms hotels”, we have created a forum for our staff to describe their everyday life at work.

The day my world turned dark
by João Martins

It’s in adversity that we show the world what kind of person we truly are. This phrase has been repeated and shared so many times that it has become a cliché. But clichés are only clichés because they’re true (up to a point).

This rang very true to me last year, on a day that can only be described as #$””! hell but that taught me that I was capable of going through all of it and making it to the other side.

For those who don’t know me, I work in Sales & Marketing at Gat Rossio. Among the many things I do, I supervise events from start to end to make sure all our clients’ needs are met. That was what I was doing with a series of workshops on SEO, Google Adwords and Analytics being led by two of the most talented professionals I have ever met. If I hadn’t been working, I would have gladly paid to take part and grow as a professional.

The workshops had been going on for a couple of weekends, but that day, as I arrived at the hotel at 7:30 in the morning, I saw from the outside that all the lights were off. The first #$%=? of the day escaped my lips and that wonderfully terrible word would continue to accompany me throughout the day.

Apparently, an electrical issue had occurred late the night before, and the hotel had lost everything, and I mean EVERYTHING: no electricity, no water, no phones, no Wi-Fi. The little power we were somehow able to produce with backup generators was directed towards the breakfast room. Guests walked the hallways in eerie calm using phones to light their way. What struck me was the silence: no background music, no machines whirring, no talking. Nothing.

And in the midst of it all, my greatest concern was the fact that in two hours’ time I would have to have a tech-based workshop up and running, with no power available. My colleagues had been working overtime since 03:00 to try and get things working.

So, I did what any rational person would do in this situation:  I RAN!

Well…not quite. First, I went to speak with the organizers to advise them of the situation and assure them that I was going to make it work. Then I ran.

I ran into the streets, visiting the surrounding hotels in the area to see if they had any space available, how much it would cost, and so on. I was chasing solutions.

I found one at International Design Hotel; their team were my salvation, particularly David and the maintenance team, who helped me set everything up. I was a sweaty, cursing, adrenaline-fueled mess but I was moving forward.

Once my solution was ready, I ran back, hoping against all hope that my clients and their students would be open to the idea and that the issue had been resolved so that everything could return to the original plan.

Fortunately, my clients are some of the best people I have ever met. Seriously, if I had been in their shoes, I would not have been as calm! They were happy with the solution, and enjoying the change of pace, I walked with them to the hotel and talked with some of them, turning the walk into a tour. When they were settled, I kept watch to make sure everything was working as planned. Two hours later a miracle took place: the hotel was fixed and all was well with the world.

Even better, although the clients liked the new space, they considered my hotel their headquarters and said they would prefer to return there after lunch.

And return we did. As they settled in and I entered into a more relaxed state of mind, I could only be in awe of the day, of myself, and of these fantastic people that had helped me set up alternatives and that didn’t explode in righteous anger at their day being ruined by something outside of anyone’s control.

The only control I had over that day was over myself and how I handled and reacted to events, and I’m proud to say I did quite alright.

So, don’t despair when life comes at you with a total blackout. Things might not go as well as they did for me, but keep moving forward and do your best so you can end your day tired, but with your head held high. Don’t stop trying.