great staff make a vacation

Customer Service is Won and Lost by People, not Protocol

I’ve never been to Mexico. As far as tropical destinations go, it’s one of the closer, more inexpensive choices (sorry Hawaii) for me so it was about time I took advantage. Where to go? Well that’s what friends are for…and they all suggested Playa del Carmen. The beaches, the culture, the beaches, the Mayan temples, the beaches, the nightlife. And, not really knowing which all inclusive resort to land on, I chose Barcelo Maya Beach Resort.

The service was exceptional. You’re probably thinking, “of course it was, that’s what you want from an ‘all inclusive.’” Yes, but is that what you get? This is the second resort I’ve been to. Previously, I spent a week in the Dominican Republic and I figured this experience wouldn’t be much different. Well, all resorts are not created equal. Where the first resort was pretty good, Barcelo was great. Their customer service secret: their staff.

Of course you expect to want for nothing when you pay the big bucks for the swanky resort. So how did Barcelo step up? Three ways: Effort, Personality and Value Added.

  1. Effort: From the moment I arrived, until the moment I left, staff made sure to say hello (sorry…“Holla”) when I walked by. Whether it was the chambermaid to the manager. Even when I was off the resort, walking passed those who were off the clock. It may seem like a little thing but it speaks volumes. As well, when we went to dinner, I received better attention and service than I have in most of my local restaurants. And keep in mind, all inclusive means “tips included”. You still can tip but it isn’t encouraged or necessary.
  2. Personality: A smile, extra effort…they’re a nice touch but are they memorable? Not as much as if you personally engaged. Whether it was Sergio the buffet waiter, Marasol the hostess or Gabriel the concierge, each of them stood out as real people enjoying our company because they wanted to, not because they were paid to. A cynical person might argue with me but we laughed, we connected and I will always remember my time with them.
  3. Value Added: I mentioned him earlier but he needs an extra mention, Gabriel. From the first time we met him, when we were looking for our excursion tour guide on the wrong day, he made a point of taking charge of two obviously confused tourists to reassure them. And the next day? The same. He also made a point of engaging with us every time he saw us beyond the simple pleasantries. But what really stood out was an almost 45 minute conversation about Tourist vs. Mexican hot sauce, his dreams to run his own Mayan Culture excursion company and a lesson on the Mayan language.

Thanks to the efforts of Barcelo resort staff, I didn’t feel like I was passing through but rather taking something with me.

THE CONCLUSION: Going steady This could be the beginning of something major. Barcelo, we had some good times. You were good, service wise. Really. But your effort, personality and that little extra something put you over the top. I wouldn’t hesitate to go out on another date. Might even suggest my friends hook up with you.

Service Rating System:

Friend Zone –  I just don’t like you in “that way.
Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.

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