In last month’s article I wrote about reviews and how celebrating mediocrity needs an ending putting to it, if we are wanting to become more evolved human beings.
This month I was going to talk about how as a single person I feel it is about time the hospitality industry woke up to the number of single people making reservations in their hotel and restaurants.
When I make a reservation for one, I do not wish to be presented with a bed made up for two, nor do I want to be sat at a table for two or 4 people. It’s not that I have a problem with being single, but it shows a lack of responsiveness and sensitivity to client needs, requests and requirements.
Well let’s just say that my husband had just died, or I had gone through an incredibly nasty breakup, and have finally gathered enough courage to go out for dinner alone, and then I get shown to a table laid for two people. Imagine the upset and the trauma this would bring back.
And what of the hotel room with the double bed made up for two people when the booking clearly shows one person? If I book a room for just one person, I expect the room to be ready for one person.
I want a double bed because I want a double bed, not because someone will be sharing it with me but sleeping in a single bed just doesn’t work for me as a grown woman. I am not a child, and maybe I am being rather spoilt here, but single beds are for children, unless I am in crew quarters on a boat, then I’ll make an exception.
We then have people who are recovering alcoholics. How do these hotels think their guests feel arriving in a hotel room knowing there is a minibar stocked full of wines, beers and spirits? Or people with diabetes being presented with nothing but sugary drinks and all the carbohydrates and sugar filled delights at breakfast?
The hospitality industry has had a major shake up the world over and yet where are many of the hotels, restaurants and excursion agents choosing to innovate and step up to deliver that something extra, some more tailored to their guests requirements?
The level of service due to increased diversity in the countries now open to one another needs a greater cultural awareness, and a sensitivity to the variety of human needs and desires.
Let’s take for example my recent five day trip down the Amazon River, a beautiful region of the world with the most stunning scenery I have ever seen. I am blessed to be able to take a trip such as this. Not many people get the opportunity or have the money or the time, so if you do create the time, money and have the desire to go, then prepare yourself for a sensory overload.
Your eyes are gifted a beautiful sight every morning as you look outside and around the boat. The nature, the colour, the skies and the abundance of life is everywhere.
And then you have the boat itself.
And then the crew.
Then your fellow passengers.
Let’s start with the boat.
To do this five day trip there is only one boat company and agent who will take you from Belem to Manaus. They have the monopoly on the river and no competition; and what happens when we have no competition in business?
We get lazy, we fail to innovate and we forget to care about the people who pay for us to stay in business. Our customers.
From 8am to midnight every single day, the crew played the most awful music on a loud speaker which you could not escape from. Not even with ear plugs could I escape. My suite was at the bow of the boat, some 50m away from the speaker, and for those of us who sail or live near water, we know that water is a great amplifier of sound.
It wasn’t even good Brazilian music, and it was a violation of the senses like no other I have ever experienced, and for someone who used to go raves ‘back in the day’ and to music festivals, I’ve heard my share of bad music through bad sound systems I can assure you.
It wasn’t just on the ear drums though, it was cerebral torture like no other; especially when you combine it with the noises reverberating, vibrating and shaking the boat. I have looked at the layout of the boat, and I have crossed referenced the schematics of other boats to figure out what this vibration and noise was, and for the life of me I could not work it out.
There was no set routine to this horrendous vibration. It had nothing to do with macerators, bow thrusters, air-conditioners, engine coolers or water makers. It is a 30 plus year old ferry made in Brazil and my boat systems study book doesn’t stretch that far.
The crew couldn’t care less about the passengers, and I had been warned about the lack of cleanliness onboard. This is one of the reasons I chose to pay the full price and go with the Master Suite, which ensured I got my own en-suite bathroom, air conditioning unit, double bed and desk, furthest away from the engine and social area.
When sweeping up the rubbish dropped on the floor by the other passengers and crew members, someone came along swept up and then brushed the rubbish over the side of the boat.
Into the Amazon River.
Into the most beautiful natural paradise you can imagine.
Okay, so this is one body of water this Mermaid wouldn’t go swimming in, regardless of the number of river dolphins I saw. plus there were too many anacondas, piranhas other funky gunk in there, and I am not talking the disco funk either!
The fellow passengers ranged from those who are along for the beauty and the experience to those who use this as a way of transporting themselves or their goods from one town and city to the other.
I was surprised at the number of towns and small cities we stopped at along the way and passed by. The Amazon is not what I have perceived all these years, it is so wildly different to everything and anything I have believed these last forty plus years.
The thing is, thirty years ago when this boat company and agency was new, someone positively reviewed the River Cruise in the Lonely Planet’s Guide, and thanks to that review and their monopoly in the marketplace, this boat company agency have a never ending stream of passengers, ones who have no other option to choose from.
Great for the company, but not for the passengers.
Having travelled half way around the world in the last four years, as well as lived and worked in over fifty countries across five continents in the last 22 years, I have learnt to stay as far away from tourist places as much as it is possible.
Because even though there may be competition, many restaurants, hotels and excursion companies know they don’t have to be the best at what they do. All that have to do is the bear minimum to stay in business because as soon as one tourist has left, there will be another one along in five minutes.
This is why I prefer to invest my time and money seeking out the very best options wherever I go. I want quality food, a good night’s sleep and the best experience I can get.
Now, the best experience may not be luxury, as this trip has proven, but there is no way I was going to go with the communal hammock option with shared toilets and showers. Nor was I going to fly and miss this wonderful experience of travelling along the Amazon River.
For the fourth largest sailing community in the world (apparently) I am surprised a yacht charter company has not chosen to set up River Tours themselves. If they had, you bet your bottom dollar they would make a fortune, and fast, with the number of people who would book with them.
Not just tourists either, Brasilians from the south of the country who have an abundance of money, as well as from the businesses here in the north who want to impress their overseas guests with the beauty of the Amazon.
As the global population adapts to the smack in the face it has just had at the hands of government inadequacy and Big Pharma´s race to boost their profits and test the power of fear on the global population, whilst also boosting sales in the petrochemical industry, their sister companies, it is time for us all to wake up on so many levels.
Mediocrity is a poor man´s game, and this statement has nothing to do with money.
Mediocrity leads to poor health, poor attitude, poor relationships, and poor morality, poor consciousness, poor vibrational states and it is only when we strive together and aim to be the very best we can be, rather than get away with the bear minimum, that the whole planet and humanity will thrive.
Relying on a review from thirty years ago in a Lonely Planet guide may have done this agency good back in the day, but with the use of social media becoming a thing, they either have to demand more from the people they give the business too, or they have to get smart and innovate a new way of getting their clients from A to B.
But then again, do they even care? So long as they have the monopoly and are making money, it will continue to be “F*** You Jack, so long as I am okay!”, as my mother used to say about others who didn’t consider anyone but themselves.
So for all those fearing competition, I say embrace it, because all of us who embrace it, we thrive in so many ways, and even collaborate with our competitors.
They also come in very handy when you want to expand your business or even sell of part or all of your company.
So until the next time folks, enjoy the ride!
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