|Sex on the beach|
I’ve just returned from a ridonculously sloth-like 5 nights in Mauritius. You see, I’ve had two winters in a row (the sacrifice made to experience the World Cup) and The Rain Man decided to treat me to a paradisiacal birthday at hotel Paradis in Le Morne. Whilst attempting to brown my bum and taking a breather from A Durable Fire (do yourself a favour and get your paws on the sequel, starting with Blood Sisters, written by Barbara and Stephanie Keating), I lay racking my brain in pursuit of a suitable blog for my return. The answer was clear: service. Okay, maybe service with Phoenix beer following closely behind.
So, Mauritius isn’t cheap anymore and spending R50 on a beer makes the swallowing a little harder. But. And it’s a big one. The service is absolutely phenomenal, flawless. Mauritian hotel staff do everything with a smile and no request is too much trouble. Paracetemol at 6AM? Pas de problem. Customising the set-menu? Pas de problem. Swimming with Spinner dolphins? Pas de problem. And the list goes on. Chatty, helpful, happy staff – a nice change from the norm back home. Yawn. And I say norm because on average I feel South African service leaves a lot to be desired. In total we probably encountered around 60 staff and service providers in 6 days, ranging from beach vendors to chauffeurs, and not one did disappoint. In the end spending R100 on your bottom of the range cocktail doesn’t feel like assault because the love that goes into making it and serving it is tangible.
You know, sh*t aint cheap anymore and companies in South Africa need to realise that fabulous service is paramount. It’s a non-negotiable, or at least it should be. Great customer service takes the edge off and encourages positive word of mouth. Investment in training in this arena deserves a little more budget and I hope that we’ll one day give those smiley happy Hindu Mauritians a run for their Rupees. With an additional 130 000 to 290 000 tourists expected annually from 2011 on account of the World Cup effect, let’s take a leaf from our tourism-oriented neighbours.
Yours with a bum a few shades browner,