AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Monday, May 03, 2004

The Andaman in Langkawi

I stayed in The Andaman in Langkawi/ Malaysia ( a couple of days last week - and again, the value chain didn't hold. Why do I keep talking about this? Well, Malaysia competes against Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore in Southeast Asia in the tourism sector, and tourism is an important contributor to GDP, and employment.

The Andaman is positioned at the high end of the hotel market, catering to overseas tourists (there were Russions, Koreans, Japanese, besides the usual German or British) who want seclusion, and be very close to nature (my trip was sponsored, otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to afford it).

And may be I am a bit peculiar here, but there were certain things that didn't fit into the picture but which can only be observed by one, who lives in the country. Like, for example, the grass was not nice and looked patchy and messy - despite being close to nature, this didn't fit. The food was not nice as well - very bland. Some people that I met and others in my group complained about heavy stomach pain and diarrhea.

The workers were friendly, smiled and greeted when you saw them - but when we checked out, no one offered us assistance. An employee heading towards us greeted us, but didn't offer to help. This didn't happen in other hotels of similar range, like the Sheraton Perdana, which is in Langkawi as well.

Oh - I nearly forgot one thing - we had a pickup service from the airport to the hotel. There was a bus - but guess who had to put in the luckage into the compartment? Only when the driver and the organiser realised that everyone of the group put the suitcases side by side, and there was no space anymore in the compartment for half the passengers did they jump in to assist. And the luggage was handled roughly - I am glad I didn't bring anything that could break.

But basically, these are minor hiccups.

What I see as problematic is that a late checkout was not possible for all members of our group. The receptionist whom I talked to stated, that her supervisor told her that it would not be possible that all members of our group would have a late checkout. Please read the sentence again, and think this through - I stand there, in front of the receptionist and she tells me that her supervisor told her, a late checkout would not be possible for all members of our group. Hello!! The hotel wasn't full, in fact, considering the extend of it, it made a rather deserted impression. There were not many tourists around - which would have been a reason for this news.

It would have been possible to combine rooms with those in my group that had an extended stay or were able to get a late checkout, but this is not the point that I want to make.

Now let's go a step back and see, how things were developing earlier. The Andaman send me a note the evening before our checkout.

The note stated (and I quote):


Your stay with us, we're aware, regrettably ends soon.
Checkout and key return are tomorrow at 12 noon.

But, after that, don't hurry!

Please rest at your ease.
And enjoy using all the facilities....

The Restaurant, for example, you may use at will. At the concierge, all luggage's and valuables can stay. In any need of shower, at level one our shower room may help your day.

Anything else you might need?

To assist us we' ll try. For another great Anadaman day passes by..."

It is a rhyme and it sounds awkward. Company centric - don't care for the tourist. Give us the key and the rest is inconvenience. For the money paid, the offered facilities don't offer value. The value and the customer experience starts earlier - during the checkin time with the statement - "We are aware that your flight might be way later than our official checkout time. We will definitely accommodate your needs. Can we already organise an late checkot for you?" Something like this - not just a letter and a strange comment at the reception. What do you think? A I too harsh?

One thing was great - the tour in the rainforest. The guy organising it is called Dev Abdullah and I don't mind passing his e-mail address on to those who want to contact him - after I check with him. He was friendly, informative, helpful and talked a lot to the children, and answered all their questions.


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