Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's the little things

I had a wonderful conversation with a man on my flight to Europe recently.  We started talking about where we were going and of course as you talk with fellow travelers the discussion almost always turns into where you have been and what you have encountered along the way.

The experience doesn't have to be extreme for you to develop an overall impression of the place you are visiting.  It reminds me of the old adage - you only get one chance to make a good first impression.  That is certainly true for the international travel and hospitality industry. 

This man had traveled from Germany to the US to give a lecture at a medical conference that was being held at the hotel where he was staying.  After arriving very late at night from his international flight he called room service to have a beer delivered to his room and was told he would have to wait over an hour.  Just that one small request was all it took for this to be an unpleasant experience for him, so much so that he does not stay with that particular hotel brand when he travels and always shares that experience with other people he talks to. 

Anyone who travels on a regular basis knows that it is the little things that can really make a difference - for me it is having water, Wi-Fi, food and drink available at off hours.  There isn't anything better than arriving after a long flight and checking into my room to find 3 bottles of water with a lovely assortment of candy, nuts, sometimes even cheese, biscuits and fruit.  If there is a mini bar or drinks available it is fantastic.  It really sets the tone for my trip be it business or pleasure.

While I understand and truly appreciate getting "special" treatment for being a member of loyalty programs it is even more important to see what effort you make when I am just the average paying customer.  If I can get a beer before I go to sleep chances are I'll stay with you again and again. 

What's Your Favorite?

As I was standing at the grocery store checkout the cashier playfully asked me - what's your favorite color?  Blue, I answered without thinking.  It reminded me of my trip to New Zealand and when I looked out at the Tasman Sea the water and the sky blended together in one gorgeous shade of blue.  You couldn't tell where one ended and the other began.

Then he asked  - where is the most beautiful place you've ever been?  Ireland, I smiled and answered without hesitation.  It isn't just the scenery that is so beautiful I explained but the people that will take your breath away!

He explained that he loves to hear peoples stories so that one day he too can see these amazing places.  Just like me when I was a young girl reading books and daydreaming about all of the wonderful journeys - sometimes it doesn't seem real but all of my dreams have come true!