Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vacation housekeeping

So some house-keeping before I get to Maui stuff. Maui has been more laid back, so there's less to write about, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

1. I slagged Southways Hotel in Ottawa a few weeks back for various sins, mostly over changing their baggage policy which meant I had to abandon a pair of coolers. I did it on this blog but, because I was in an especially bad mood over that, I also went on Iqaluit Public Service Announcements page on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and TripAdvisor. I was pretty thorough in my use of social media to express my disgust.

I rarely do that sort of thing, but sadly it works. I complained at the front desk when it was happening, but there was nothing they could do. When I blasted them on all those social media platforms, and people responded with dismay, well there was a change of heart in a matter of days.

So now they will keep bags for a month, assuming you have a return reservation already in place. Which is quite fair. They also contacted me personally to let me know that the coolers I abandoned were reclaimed from our room and are waiting for us when we return to Ottawa.

On the one hand, I'm glad to see Southways recognized they made a mistake and took quick action to fix it and made serious efforts to reach out to me to rectify the situation. It's more than what a lot of businesses would have done. Still, I wish they could have seen how severe the reaction to this idea would be from Nunavumiut, which make up a significant part of their business, before they took those steps.

Anyway, the situation is over with only some minor inconvenience...

2. Speaking of TripAdvisor, I think one of the things that surprised me the most in Hawaii is how much businesses depend on/fear TripAdvisor. I've heard radio ads talking about how highly rated their business is on TripAdvisor.

And I have to admit we're using TripAdvisor/Yelp/Google Maps a lot more on this vacation than we ever have before (we also downloaded a Road to Hana audio app for the iPhone, which was quite useful and better than trying to read highlights from a book while driving). Part of it is we now have iPhones, which we never had on previous vacations. So we can come here, get burner sims, and have actual smart phones when we travel around. It's made navigating easier, but it's also made finding places to eat or shop much easier.

So yes, all hail/live in fear of the mighty social media...

3. Every day I wear my Montreal Expos baseball hat, I get compliments or a comment on it. People haven't forgotten that team, even in the US.

4. We're routinely asked where we're from when we travel, more so in Hawaii than anywhere else we've been. And let's face it, no one in the United States knows where Nunavut is. Over the years, we've refined our location from Northern Canada (too many people thought we were talking about Toronto...seriously), to the Arctic (routinely got Edmonton/Yellowknife) to the North Pole (not everyone thought we were kidding) to the current Eastern Canadian Arctic. We add just west of Greenland (never mind that Grise Fiord is also technically just west of Greenland and it's much different than Iqaluit) and people get the idea.

It's an automatic conversation starter because people are curious about why you live there and when you moved and what you do. I've noticed an interesting reaction when we explain our jobs. When Cathy says she's a teacher, she gets nods and smiles. When she says she's a special needs teacher, she gets more conversation and more...respect. People acknowledge that's not always an easy job.

I've said I work with the government, which gets a blank look at best, or sometimes disapproving, depending on the person you're speaking with. I've said PR/Communications, and that always gets a frown. Lately I've taken to saying I work with an economic development agency and that....oddly gets some respectful looks. Americans seem to like the idea of doing something that helps grow and develop the economy.

It's all about refining the message to reach the right audience to help achieve your goals. My bosses would be so proud...

1 comment:

Christine said...

Some people in the US know where Nunavut is; Iqaluit is high on my to-visit list. :) To be fair though, my curiosity about arctic Canada is what brought me to your blog a while back. So thanks for blogging about life in the arctic, and I'm glad you're enjoying Hawaii!