Connecting More Dots In Nassau!

“Connecting The Dots Around The World” will be a huge learning curve each day in  finding a gracious way to “step over the bar of expectations” from our American point of view and will be a skill that needs to be practiced. Trying to be understanding and be considerate of different cultures and their values will be of utmost importance. Kindness and peaceful communication about all kinds of situations will be the order of the day to maintain peace within ourselves and thereby create peace among people and nations.

I have been reading the book “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson as required reading for the students and Life Long Learners on the voyage for Spring 2011, Semester At Sea.  The book is about how the passion for an idea can change the world with just one person pursuing the vision of their dreams. The message that is coming to me from the book is one of belief in convictions no matter what it is.  Not that Greg’s passion would be my passion but that his example shows how an individual can make a difference with their actions.

The dots that are connecting for me from a global standpoint which I can take back to my local community, the “glocal” lesson is one of raising the bar with the best quality service to attract the consumer. I can see clearly that business in general, the global business community included is fighting for the discretionary consumer’s dollar.  The video of David in front of the Big Ten Restaurant on Bay Street in Nassau included in my post  from the past week, shows how retailers are literally fighting for that same dollar.

My belief is the consumer will spend their discretionary dollar and share with their friends if a business provides the  Nordstrom quality service at an affordable price.  Taking those concepts to a practical place to implement, a business must have clean presentations and superior customer service to get repeat and referral business from past consumers.

The number one reason my husband Tom and I are on this voyage is the fact the program was 2 for 1 package on Semester At Sea and it had been on our life “goddard” list for five years.  The opportunity was right being able to leave home for 4 months and with the value of the package we stepped up to experience this journey. We arranged for a house sitter couple that worked from home and would take care of the cat and off we went!

We are very grateful to the Semester At Sea program for this opportunity and did  not want to shake up any relationships on the first day with the group……. but after considering the message in  the required reading book “Three Cups of Tea”  and knowing that “raising the bar of expectations” is a passion of mine I felt impelled to try and correct a situation with the Hotel we are staying at as it just appeared to me they were taking advantage of a large group of people, probably 300 rooms or more of families seeing their students off on this voyage.

The hotel we made arrangements to stay with at Semester At Sea was actually below average and the room with a channel ocean view seemed extremely overpriced at $188.00 per night. I had to have some self-talk, telling myself that my expectations needed to drop down a little as this experience was about cherishing and respecting different cultures and different value systems. After seeing the unpainted ply wood circle in a window with pen scribbles, the hangers too large for the closet space, no screen on the sliding glass doors in the room combined with the stained carpet in the elevator, stained tile floors, dead palm fronds in the atrium and windows so dirty you can’t see anything but the dirt drops into the garden, I decided that corporate America and/or international resorts really need to raise the bar for service and conditions if they expect to receive top dollar for their products and consumers sharing their experiences to get repeat and referral business.

Pen markings on unpainted plywood used as a sun block in $188 per night room

Dead Palm Fronds in atrium area

Tom Brokaw reviews “ Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin “proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of Character and Determination, really can change the world.”  This concept encouraged me to stand up to do the right thing and help create change. I think this is what the Semester At Sea experience is supposed to do.. encourage people to take action. My action is a not anything compared to Greg Mortenson but his writing has stimulated me to take a stand and to reach out to corporate International connections to really let them LOOK at what the consumer sees and then try and modify behavior from the bottom up.

This concept has stimulated another aspect of my conscious reasoning: the first contact with the consumer should be one of the VERY best experiences if the consumer is going to continue to spend their discretionary dollars with that company. Now the issues corporate business has is hiring people who have actually experienced the level of service the company is expecting their employees to give to the consumer. Why not train the front line by letting them experience that high end service in some sort of practice exercise. Then they will KNOW what it feels like and can attempt to recreate that feeling for those they are being paid to serve.
I had some guilt feelings about the mini rant however; as I reflect on the day and what I am learning I think that the consumer needs to DEMAND the bar be raised to spend their money where they feel the service provided is worth the price. Talking about International business we spoke with the cab driver about the condition of the hotel and he said it was going to be torn down. Now that gave me some insight as to why they were not maintaining the facility.. It was going to be torn down and they were going to take advantage of all the tourists they could as long as they could. This does not seem right.. and even though we got a discount through the Semester At Sea group the condition was not acceptable for a group of such magnitude.

I took some action.. called the manager.. explained the dead palm fronds.. the scribbling on the plywood in the room. The view over HVA equipment to the ocean and the price of the rooms for the condition of the building. I wanted my bill to be cut in half as that is what I thought the room was worth.  He could not do that but could move me to another room and give me 2 free breakfast buffets with a $40.00 value.  He gave us an ocean view rooms for the next 2 days and the breakfast buffets.

When I asked the manager if he felt dead plants in the atrium, dirty floors, and scribbles on the wall is what the company wanted reflected in their image. He said “no” so he knew it is not acceptable and maybe my discussion can help management change the maintenance policy.  Who knows with tearing down some of the building but I did my best in trying to make them aware the consumer is watching.


The dots are starting to connect around the world
and you dear reader, can help by commenting on any of the posts sharing what is on your mind. Enter the contest: Where In The World is Carra Riley? Go to the right hand side of the home page  to register and participate to win a trip to one of the seven wonders of the world! Contest starts January 12, 2011 as the ship embarks.