holoholo photo

GoPro or GoHome

Working for a major hotel chain has certain perks. We do not have super useful things like a matching 401k or free health, dental, or vision insurance, but what our multi-billion dollar corporation does have are employee contests.

I recently entered a contest sponsored by our corporation, which asked the team members to submit their best travel pictures. The three winning team members would win five nights at any Hilton hotel, airfare for two, and a Visa gift card with five-hundred dollars on it, while the three winning pictures would be displayed on our new team member travel program Hilton Honors cards (much like a standard award program card, but specifically for team members only).

I really wanted one of those top spots.

Contest rules were simple: you could submit one picture a day from the start of the contest until the end of the submission phase. Unfortunately for me, I was not informed of the contest until the last seven days of its duration, so I scrambled to find seven strong submissions. The company that ran the contest was not the greatest at what they do. I emailed them to ask a question about the submission process and they took two days to respond. Their response was simple and incorrect, so I emailed them again and their next response took three days. By then the contest was ending, so I never got my challenge resolved.

I submitted pictures that I thought would work well on a credit card sized canvas, but still showed some sense of travel or exploration in detail. I covered Hawaii, Wyoming, Montana, and Ireland in seven different entries.

I did not win one of the coveted top spots, but here are the three Grand Prize Winners:

The three Grand Prize winners.

The three Grand Prize winners.

After the contest ended, the website said check back to see a full list of entries and winners. The site said that for weeks, with no further information or dates to check back on, so I looked just about every day. Finally, I decided to get back on the horse and email the company in charge. I received a response that same day, and it said the site would be updated within eight to ten weeks!

The next day I went to work and was told by a co-worker who happened to check the website that I was one of the Second Prize Winners. He showed me the page that had my photograph (they are listed alphabetically by first name, so mine is on the bottom row, right in the middle.

The 25 Second Place winners, mine is on the bottom row.

The 25 Second Place winners, mine is on the bottom row, middle.

The photograph that won for me was of the Gallarus Oratory (an ancient church) taken in County Kerry, Ireland, from our two-week trip back in 2014.

Gallarus Oratory.

Gallarus Oratory.

Disappointed I did not win one of the top spots, I was still honored one of my photographs was even selected. Out of 3,500 employee entries, I am thrilled to have made the top twenty eight.

There was another set of prizes to be given out and that was for the top five “most liked” photographs entered. Basically, every entry, once posted online had a heart in the upper right corner. If you clicked on the heart, you “liked” the photo. I figured with the support from my co-workers and with 1,300 friends and workers at the main resort, I could get away with about five percent of co-workers with computer access “liking” one of my pictures each day and I could easily win one of those prizes as well. I asked for support from my immediate co-workers (the one’s I see every single day) and they responded without fail. Every day, I stood over their shoulders and watched them vote, but the number of “likes” remained the same. Once again, the company in charge of this contest had some serious issues. I read online comments from other participants who where having the same issues, yet no representative from the contest host responded to people’s requests. Our Human Resources department agreed to send out an email encouraging employees to vote for all Grand Wailea team member pictures that were entered, but that email failed to appear. I can only imagine what could have been if twenty people a day had “liked” one of my photos. Twenty people, out of 1,300…I did not think I was asking too much for that simple support.

I guess I sound greedy, but with all the time and money I have donated to my co-worker’s kids and their multiple causes over the past thirteen years, I did not feel like I was asking for much. It took five minutes out of their day, for seven days. I was not even asking for money. I really wish our Human Resources department had stood behind their word, but general disappointment seems to happen more and more these days when you rely on others.

On a positive note, I have allegedly won myself a GoPro package, but since the contest winners were posted around November 20th, I have yet to be notified that I have even won. I eagerly anticipate the email or phone call that will let me know that I am a winner and how or when I will be receiving my prize. I was hoping to have it before Christmas, but the odds of that happening grow greater each new day.