In their annual survey the readers of Travel and Leisure Magazine have chosen Costa Rica Expeditions as the seventh best tour operator in the world.
Under most circumstances my reaction to being number 7 would be that we are number 6 of the losers. In this case, however, I must admit that I am very pleased. Here’s why:
- There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of Tour Operators in the World.
- We are the only single country operator to be so honored.
- We are the only operator not based in the U.K. the U.S. or Africa to be so honored.
Most Important the Honor Came from You.
In early January I emailed all our past guests. In part this is what I said:
“If we actually gave you legendary service, and unforgettable memories, the best you’ve ever experienced from a tour operator [emphasis new] please spend 5 minutes filling out the online survey at the link below.”
All of us at Costa Rica Expeditions feel greatly honored that you, our past guests, rated us so highly that we came in #7 of the 25 companies listed, all of which are at least several times larger than we are. You also voted us # 4 in the category of, “Top Tour Operators and Safari Outfitters for Families.”
You can find the entire list at http://bit.ly/qE6cu1
In the same email I also asked for constructive criticism.
“…if you do not think that we are the best tour operator you have ever traveled with, please reply to this email and tell me how we can improve. The success we have had is in large part due to taking constructive criticism seriously.”
Then, when we got several hundred flattering emails promising to vote for us and not one suggestion for improvement, I sent a second email to all past guests, adding:
“…I want to emphasize here I really mean this. We did not get a single suggestion for improvement from our last mailing. Nobody is that good. Help us get better with your suggestions.”
This smoked out several suggestions. I can’t remember what they were at this remove but, I do recall that at least one was pure gold.
How Can we Improve??
Please help us celebrate this honor by wracking your brain and coming up with ways for us to improve. It will help us continue to delight guests and keep our egos under control.
To the person who sends the suggestion that I find the most helpful I will send your choice between a bag of Costa Rica Coffee or the world’s only discount certificate in which the fine print is twice as big as the big print. You can give it to a friend or use it yourself. Just in case you can’t read the big print. The amount of the discount is ten percent.
Guests who are travel professionals.
We also feel honored that the cream of the travel industry chose to visit us. As well as constantly getting very perceptive feedback from our guests who are not in travel, we are very fortunate to count among our visitors some of the world’s best travel professionals. I spent last Monday and Tuesday with my old friend Toni Neubauer, Conde Nast Specialist for Nepal.
Toni not only gave me invaluable advice on improving the Words Adventure our program in which guests help local kids learn English, but she also swings a pretty mean kayak paddle.
In August we are looking forward to a visit from my good friend Maita Barrenechea Conde Nast Specialist for Argentina.
Last August we had a great time with Andrea Grisdale Conde Nast Specialist for Italy and occasional co-pilot.
I wish she would look where she is going.
Twelve of you wrote asking for discount certificates. We sent 15% certificate to the first ten and 10% certificates to the other two.