Unexpected Service is the Best

Unexpected Service is the Best
March 7, 2013 Century Plaza Vancouver

If being in the hospitality industry for almost 17 years has taught me anything, it’s how going above & beyond in your duties can really make an impact when delivering a memorable guest experience.  I’ve seen the value of it many times in my career, but one instance that sticks out for me actually involved a role-reversal situation – when it was me who was the guest on the other side of the counter.


During my working holiday in Australia almost 10 years ago, I found myself in a tense situation while in Surfers’ Paradise, Queensland.  I was in town to go to a music festival where my favorite DJ, Armin Van Buuren, was headlining.  My stay was to be short, as I need to catch a flight out of Brisbane Airport the next morning to Auckland, and join a tour group.


The festival took place on a large peninsula called ‘The Spit’ which was well out of the main township, so I chose a hostel that was close to this area.  My plan was to go to the festival, get a couple hours sleep, then catch my flight.  What I did not realize however when arranging all this months prior, was A) how far Brisbane is from Surfers Paradise, B) that airport shuttles are very scarce at 4:30 in the morning, and C) how remote a location my hostel was in.


These factors could have  really ruined things for me…I would have not only missed my flight, but I would have also missed my 2 week New Zealand tour which was non-refundable!


Unfortunately the hostel I was staying at was extremely indifferent to my situation – I received no help or advice, was just told that it was “impossible” to get a shuttle that early on a Sunday morning, and that far out of the way.  In addition, they had a no-refund policy on all bookings, meaning I couldn’t move myself to a hostel closer to town.


So here I was, extremely worried that things would fall apart…to take my mind off it, I went into town to visit some friends that were staying at a different hostel.  While having a few drinks in their room, I thought about what the possibility would be that I could maybe talk to an employee at THAT hostel to see if they were more optimistic?  So I did exactly that.  And boy, am I ever glad I did…she called multiple contact & companies before she finally found someone that would shuttle me to where I needed to be at such an ungodly hour.  To say I was grateful would be a major understatement!


So at close to 4:30 in the morning the next day, here I am sitting at the road just outside my hostel, in the dark (literally – again, remote area!) wondering if this would all work out…sure enough, a pair of headlights eventually starts showing up in the distance, which thankfully belonged to my shuttle van.  They brought me into Brisbane just in time to catch my flight to New Zealand.  All was right with the world again.


I really wish I had gotten the girl’s name who helped me so I could thank her later on…not only because she went above the call of duty to help me out of a sticky situation, but the fact that she did it for someone who wasn’t even staying at the hostel she worked at!  Now *that* is great service.




Spencer Plaitin

Reservations Manager

Photo by: Kevgibbo


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