Tuesday June 17 2014

Lessons from a smart tour operator

By Ethan Musolini

Last week, a client hired a tours and travel operator to take me upcountry to conduct a training. First, he arrived two minutes before the agreed time, which impressed me because I love people who keep time. I pointed this out to him and said we would do business together in future because of his respect for time.

While we were still waiting for my colleague to join me, he informed me that he had a water coolant at the back of the car and that at any time, I was welcome to take water. He gave me a bottle of water and my colleague when he finally joined us.

Keeping time is normal. Providing water to a travelling client is unusual. At least with the operators I have been involved with for close to 10 years now, when I am travelling. Oh, and he provided water for the whole journey. The water experience floored me. If I ever have an opportunity, I will definitely engage him. Lesson? Exceed the customer’s expectations and business will follow.

I got to know that he loves his car and takes great care of it. For example, rather than use ordinary tyres, he uses BF Goodrich. A whole set of four tyres costs Shs5.2m. He chooses such a brand because the grip is great, which creates a safer travelling experience. They last longer – more than four years. He loves class. Do you? Often, when you spend more to invest in something great, you end up saving more in the long run. Lesson? Invest in quality because it pays.

And his name is? Stephen Musamali. He intimated how in the process, he has attracted some long-term clients.

Back to the brief history. About 10 years ago, a gentleman who owned a tours and travel company saw Stephen driving a family car, a super custom.
The gentleman offered to hire it out for three days netting him a handsome windfall. It’s at that time that a light bulb went off – “Oh, I can make money out of this” he thought to himself. And a tours and travel company was born. Lesson? Keep your eyes and mind open without getting stuck in the past. New opportunities can come out of unusual sources and incidents. You just never know where your next fortune is.

If life is a movie, then we are always creating and acting as per our own scripts. The question is, is it a great script? Is it a great movie? We can all aspire to that level. And part of that is being willing to exceed expectations of your employers, customers and to yourself. And you can use Stephen as a reminder.

As an inspiration for what you are capable of. While at it, remember to stay open to unexpected twists and turns because that’s where your next breakthrough could be. Now, go live a great life because that’s what you deserve.

CEO of Success Africa, a motivational speaker, author and HR consultant