Despite the fact that we generally expect travel and relaxation to go hand-in-hand, these two concepts don’t get along as often as we’d like. We try and plan every detail, reserving our hotel rooms and booking our flights, spending months waiting in anticipation for that trip down south or that week at the resort in the next province over.
Then the vacation arrives and, sometime between the gleeful goodbye to our co-workers and our first step out the front door the next morning, it all starts to fall apart. Maybe a passport’s missing, or the kids have grown out of last year’s swimsuits, or the text messages from work are still coming. By the time you get to your destination, you’re exhausted.
But book the right hotel, and plan the right activities, and even vacations with the bumpiest take-offs can be saved.
Put hospitality first
Nova Scotia’s White Point Beach Resort and Charlottetown-based D.P Murphy Hotels & Resorts (which operates various properties across Atlantic Canada, brands such as IHG, Hilton, Starwood, Wyndham, Future Inns, and Dalvay by the Sea) both thrive on offering customers a comfortable, hospitable experience.
At White Point Beach Resort, staff are asked to treat guests like they’re family. According to Joanne Veinotte, White Point’s general manager, that means listening carefully to their guests and stepping up when they see a way to help.
“As soon as we can surprise them, delight them, with an unexpected experience that they wouldn’t normally have, it takes it all well beyond anyone’s expectations,” says Veinotte. “For example, the bonfires are really important to folks; being able to roast marshmallows and that sort of thing. So when a staff person overhears a child with a family by the fireplace saying, ‘What do you mean there’s no marshmallows?’ and then that staffer sweeps in with marshmallows and a couple of sticks. It’s about active listening.”
This approach can make hosting more challenging, but Veinotte say it’s well worth it.
“Word gets around that these kinds of things are happening and people do raise their expectations,” says Veinotte. “Always trying to stay alert and on top of everything really is kind of like having a family, where everyone has all their expectations and you’ve got to outdo yourself from the previous year.”
D.P Murphy strives to create “Hospitality…Like Never Before,” offering thoughtful touches like a complimentary beverage upon arrival, two free bottles of water waiting in the rooms, snow removal from your vehicles, and weekly guest receptions.
“September through April, we also offer fresh soup in the lobby in the evening followed by fresh snacks,” says VP of Operations Christie Neate. “It provides our guests with a nice option, for those who have had a long day of travelling. We are always striving for new ways to express our sincere appreciation to our guests.”
So the next time you start planning that vacation, remember: it’s not hard to make the most of your downtime when you choose a resort or a hotel with a reputation for hospitality. And when it’s time to go exploring, do your research. Find out what the region has to offer — then jump right in. •