Owners Corner

Surf Season Phone-In

There are two steps to the Surf Season Phone-In process:

  1. You call in to the dedicated number to claim your place in the queue. (You do not make a reservation at this step.)
  2. Later, you receive a call back at the number you provided in Step 1 to make your reservation.
The Trials of Technology

The phone queue is heavily dependent on phone technology: the technology to queue up your call and the technology to keep your call connected. See below for more.

1. Call In at 7:00 am PDT

At 7:00 am: call the number provided in your  Surf Day packet.
» If you hear a recorded male voice, hang up: you’re too early.

When you hear a recorded female voice, stay on the line: you’re in the queue.

Stay on the line. Your call goes to an automated queue of hundreds of calls that will be cleared by a live person.

When a live person answers, give

–        Your Name

–        Your owner number

–        One or more call-back numbers.

When the agent has confirmed your information, HANG UP. Don’t try to make a reservation at this time – you won’t be able to. You’ll only get frustrated and you’ll hold up the queue.

Remember: In this step, you are not calling to make a reservation. You are calling to tell the reservations staff how to contact you when it’s your turn to make a reservation. You make a reservation only when they call you.

Before 7:00 am:  Prepare to Call

Have your owner number ready.

Be ready with one or more phone numbers where you can be called back.

Reservations agents answer the calls in the order they arrive in the phone queue. They take and confirm your call-back information, and then tell you your current position in the call-back queue.

A Hard Reality: Hundreds of calls (yes, hundreds) are made to the Surf Day number within a few seconds (yes, seconds…) at 7 am and are placed into a queue. So, two calls that are made at exactly the same moment may be picked up a fraction of a second apart and have very different positions in the queue.

2. Wait for a Callback

Wait near your phone. Someone will call you back, but it may take a while. In recent years, all callbacks have been completed before noon on Surf Day.

Eventually, you’ll receive a call on one of the numbers your provided in Step 1. Make your reservation.

You can monitor the reservations progress live at the Surf Day Online Matrix so that when it’s time to make your reservation, you know what units and weeks are still open.

If you own multiple intervals

If you own a second interval, tell the agent you want to make a second reservation. The agent will put you on hold. Wait on the line while a write-in and a walk-in request are processed. The agent will come back on the line, ask for the second owner number, and verify that both numbers are registered to the same owner.  As long as you are the owner (or authorized proxy) of both intervals, you can make a second reservation.

If you own multiple intervals, you can make two, but only two, reservations from the same phone call, and those two reservations must be registered to the same owner. (So you can’t stay on the call to make a reservation for friends or family.)

If you want to make additional reservations, you must call again or make a reservation from one of the other queues.

The Illusion of Trustworthy Technology

Systems crash. Networks break. Calls drop.

On Surf Day we put severe strains on the technology we depend on at both ends of the phone queue: the software and servers used by the reservations team at Tricom, and the hundreds of phones and cell networks we all use to connect to the reservations team.

At the reservations site, the phone answering system is robust. It’s thoroughly stress-tested before Surf Day and has been shown to easily handle the many hundreds of calls it’s bombarded with at 7:00 am on Surf Day, from 250+ owners, their families, and their friends.

Each call is answered with an automated message (female voice) and put into a holding queue with a time-stamp, where it is reliably held until it is picked up by a live person at the reservations desk. The system can be programmed to inform callers of their position** in the queue. And there’s the rub: calls have to stay connected until they are answered–and that can be a challenge in a queue that’s hundreds of callers long.

At the owner end, calls drop. That’s a fact. Every year, callers wait patiently, hopefully, in the phone queue, listening to poor quality sound of questionable musical taste, waiting to hear a real live person only to hear “Your call cannot be completed…” or worse, just silence. You’ve just lost your position in the phone queue.

Where’s the problem? What’s the solution? We’ve looked at the logs on the Tricom system and found no evidence of problems at that end, so we can only speculate that the phone carrier lost the connection, either by design (too long on hold) or or a network timeout/overload/error.

** The most promising option this writer has seen so far is to further automate the answering system along the following lines: prompt the caller to enter their owner number using the keypad; prompt for one or more callback numbers, again using the keypad; require the caller to confirm or reenter the numbers; hang up. Such systems exist, but they are expensive and it doesn’t appear to be possible to rent them for just one day. But we’ll keep looking.

Let me appeal to any owners who may know of such one-day systems to contact the Board or Tricom. There’s got to be a better yet affordable way to handle the phones on Surf Day.