Strange and a bit awkward, the emotional feelings rushed through each one of us the moment I wished my Finnish transferring guests a good trip home at the International Airport 40 kilometers outside Windhoek. Why strange? Only had a call the Friday with a request to transfer two ladies to Okapuka Game Ranch for a Game Drive on Saturday and a Game Drive Sunday at Dusternbrook Game Ranch, altogether two and a half days getting to know two people who wanted to see a little more of Namibia and it’s wonderful wildlife before leaving.
To have a shuttle service transferring guests from one destination to the other does not mean one can’t be of assistance. An important factor is to make guests feel comfortable and safe being friendly and accommodating at all times.
Yes, this might be my own personal business which is still young and small in comparison with most other services that are established already in Namibia though there has always been a difference in my attitude towards any client, customer and/or guests throughout my complete business career which definitely gives me an advantage and I will always the strategy to the best of my ability within my power and with the grace of God.
Let’s discuss a few facts though your opinion could differ. Feel free to comment and add your personal feelings and preferences towards any ideas or facts mentioned. Any opinion towards this discussion is welcome as I am open to productive, positive criticism.
Attitude towards guests play an important role and if one’s attitude is negatively projected through one’s body language when facing guests, you’ve lost their trust before you have introduced yourself. Meeting new guests at the airport only having their flight number & time as well as names will always be a challenge, true but also solvable.
In order to project a positive attitude one should be aware that flights can be delayed or land earlier there-for, it is always important to be at the airport ahead of time especially when a guesthouse, pension hotel or hotel booked for transfer from the airport. Once you are late your body language will already show signs of restlessness and/or irritation due to rushing. Guests are usually tired, uncertain of the unknown and could also be off-balance due to long flights.
A Memo board with your expected guest’s names should be written plain and clear or printed in order for your guests to be able to find their names with ease. Make sure you are visible and be relaxed with an assuring posture towards your guests. Once your guests recognize their names welcome them with a warm handshake while announcing your first name & immediately offer assistance with their luggage. Most guests prefer handling their own luggage and why not? How will you feel after a ten hour flight finding that your luggage at least made it as well?
Most guests would want to find a bank or ATM to be able to withdraw money immediately and after you have assisted them to the right spot you settle your parking ticket. Keeping your guests waiting for long periods can add to their fatigue and we want them to feel welcome. As Namibia does not have an enormous airport the ATM could be without funds available in which case one can stop on the way to their destination at a safe and reliable ATM driving into Windhoek. It is always a good option to stay with your guests should they need assistance and always at all times stay friendly and relaxed.
Be aware that guests might not prefer air-conditioning in a vehicle there-for always request which option they prefer and comply. Guests are also used to driving their own vehicles. It is necessary to keep your guests informed of driving regulations and laws and make sure that you drive safely at all times. You and all your guests must wear seat belts at all times. Explain more about the road you are about to embark on whilst explaining wild animal movements and describe animals in general.
Any person and in this case, your guest, enjoys the fact that you show a true interest in them and their well-being. People enjoy talking about themselves and this is the perfect opportunity to make any guest feel comfortable while you are driving by asking general questions about their visit, where their home is, how long their visit will be and where they would be visiting in Namibia. Please keep your questions general as your guests are not under questioning and the goal is to keep them relaxed only. Steer clear of discussions such as politics and religion unless asked directly about the Namibian stability regarding these subjects.
Be proud giving your guests information about Namibia in general and make sure you have general knowledge about your own country. Yes, you are not a tour-guide but keep in mind, you are the first person in Namibia your guests will have to accumulate information from there-for it is important to have knowledge about Namibia you enjoy most as enthusiasm is contagious and guests tend to respond with a keen interest for more information. Keep in mind not to answer a question you do not have the correct answer to, be honest and suggest whom they can contact or find the information from. Incorrect information can cause safety issues and we want more guests and visitors instead of people avoiding Namibia as a tourist attraction. There is no shame in acknowledging not having an answer; instead you will be respected for being truthful.
Always make sure to hand your guests your name and number should they be in need of your services to be able to contact you directly. You will find guests appreciate your gesture and it will create a feeling of trust which will help to relax your guests as well knowing they would be able to reach you in case of any emergency.
Once arriving at your guest’s destination make sure that you will be able to drive in keeping the safety of your guests in mind. Assist with off-loading of their luggage and inform the information desk of the arrival of their guests. Guests mostly settle the amount charged arriving at their destination and you will find most of the time that your warm welcome earned you something extra and/or more transferring being requested by your guests.
The two Finnish ladies drove through three rivers twice, enjoyed every minute of excitement and made sure we see each other once more before their flight and that was awesome as now we are becoming friends as well being linked through social networks.