I am incredibly behind in my blog posts! Over the last 6 weeks, I’ve been to Panama, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Time to get caught up.
Back in April, we went to Panama. Our first time in the country, and our first time in an ‘all-inclusive resort’. It was the Royal DeCameron resort, about 2 hours from Panama City, on the Pacific side. An interesting experience, to be sure.
A little about Panama. The country has quite a unique history – once being part of Columbia, then France, with a dose of US thrown in. It is a narrow strip of land that first served as the gateway to and from South America, and then made famous because of the Panama Canal that links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
In my visits through Panama City, Penonome and Farallon, I found the people of Panama to be accommodating, if not exceedingly warm. I did not feel quite as safe as I had in neighbouring Costa Rica, but not as nervous as I was in Guatemala. From a customer service perspective, I found them to be the same – accommodating, but not warm. Yes, there were definitely exceptions – like the really entertaining guy at one of the many cabana bars and the happy towel-lady down at the beach -but if you wanted warmth, you’d really have to rely on the equatorial sun.
The Royal DeCameron is huge – with many restaurants, buffets and bars. Regardless of where you went, however, you couldn’t help but feel processed. Not surprising, of course, given the giant number of people who flip through every week, but there’s nothing there to make anyone feel in any way special.
As I was there, I was mentally going through a checklist of the 4 ‘P’s of customer experience – Policies, Processes, People and Practices. There were holes in each, and I couldn’t help but feel that that with just a little more effort on the part of the hotel, they could really have made things memorable.