My wife and I returned from a much needed vacation recently that took us to the Caribbean. In our hustle-and-bustle of self-employment, we hadn’t taken much time to be with each other and had started to feel the connection that we’ve had lose some of its strength. So, after months of planning, Mrs. Smith and I spent a few days closer to the equator in a tropical paradise. During our stay, we both recharged and regained a connection that was needed. We also had an incredible experience from the people we encountered. That experience is what I want to share with you here, community building lessons from the beach.
Trips like this don’t happen often for us, and had it not been for a really cheap flight deal with Southwest Airlines, we might not have taken the leap. We settled on traveling to Belize on the recommendation of my close friend named Bird. My dream vacation has been Belize since this friend shared with me her stories on the people, the landscape, and the constant awesome temperatures. While the weather shifted into fall here in Texas, it was warm and sunny (for the most part) in Belize.
We booked 3 nights at Ramon’s Resort on the beach, which was the best part of the whole trip, and the people who taught me a lot about what it means to truly deliver an amazing experience that builds community. I talk about this dynamic with entrepreneurs and musicians often. For a business to foster the same principles in a tropical region was truly amazing. Here’s what they did:
Community Building With Customer Service You’ll Facebook, Email, and Write Home To Mom About
Hey Musicians, customer service is something you do too. It’s how you treat and interact with your fan base. For Ramon’s, their customer service came out in every interaction their staff and personnel had with us. We arrived in the evening as the sun was setting. We were met at the airport by a smiling, welcome man named Joe. His first words to us were “Welcome to Paradise.” The folks at the airport had said the same thing, so I assumed it was just a cliche phrase people used. It wasn’t for Joe, and it wasn’t for Ramon’s. It was their mantra.
Joe got us to our room and got us set up. We then went to the indoor/outdoor restaurant connected to the resort, Pineapples Grill. Our server was a funny guy named Jack. Jack sat us at our table and asked where we were from. Upon hearing that we’re from Texas, he went into this monologue about all the facets of Texas, stating our state bird, state tree, state flower, and what we’re known for. It was interesting. As he sat other guests and visitors to the restaurant, he did the same thing, and was brandishing facts and trivia about other states.
Here is a guy who has probably never been to America, reciting facets about the locations people are from as they come in that even they don’t know. He had the attention of everyone in the restaurant. Then he would tell us to look up Jack-o-pedia online to see more of his awesomeness. The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t really have a website. But his branding and the experience he provided was outstanding. We spent at least 4 of our meal times at Pineapple’s Grill because of Jack and the other wait staff were so courteous, friendly and attentive.
There are tons of hotels and restaurants on the island of San Pedro, where we stayed. Tourism is the #1 revenue stream for the business culture there. Yet in a town full of other hotels, resorts, and restaurants, Ramon’s has built a reputation for being the best. We were recommended staying there from Bird who had a similar experience years ago. Her recommendation proved truthful and consistent after years of time gone by.
Make Your Visitors Remember You By Delivering Beyond Comparison
When we first checked into our room, which was a cabanna-styled jungle-mini with a bed, linen closet, and bathroom with a hutch roof, we were welcomed with a letter written to us and placed on the bed in a creative fashion of linens and tropical flowers. The letter said that Ramon’s was honored to have us, and that their desire was for us to have a fulfilling and blessed stay. It said that despite the fact that they’re a business, making money isn’t their ultimate objective, but providing an experience unlike anything else is what they wished for us to have. There was a short prayer on the letter wishing us well and blessings.
I’ve traveled all over the US to big and small cities. I’ve stayed in 5-star hotels and small bed-and-breakfasts. I’ve experienced some great service all over the US but nothing that welcomed us like this. It set the mood and the atmosphere for the duration of our time there.
Aside from the great food and the tremendous staff who delivered their services, we also had the chance to go out and snorkel for the first time along the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world. It was an amazing experience that allowed us to meet a couple from Indiana and another couple from Denmark. We swam with nurse sharks, stingrays, and schools of fish that looked like special features on a National Geographic video.
On that snorkel trip, we learned that Ramon’s will allow their guests to check out snorkel gear from their shop for free to swim around their pier. We took advantage of that and went swimming/snorkeling another 3 or 4 times off the pier, discovering several types of fish and seeing a lot of aquatic life neither Mrs. Smith or I had ever seen in person before.
Follow The Golden Rule To Massive Success With Your Community Building
As you can see, we had a great trip and highly recommend Ramon’s as the dream destination for a vacation in Paradise. We also enjoyed the people of San Pedro, and some of the other eateries like Elvi’s, Blue Water Grill, and The Hurricane Ceviche Bar. Each of these places had great food and provided a unique experience in conversations from their staff. The thing that unified all of the restaurants and service of the entire San Pedro area is that people there practice the Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated.
We sat along the beach during the day and took long walks on the beach in the morning and in the evening. There were several peddlers who would come by offering their wares. All of them were very friendly, and none of them were pushy. A simple shake of the head or a “no thank you” wasn’t met with bitterness or a bad attitude (like we’re so used to experiencing here in America) but instead was given a smile and a “ok thank you, have a good day.” That kind of uncommon attitude and behavior is so unique in a place that is surrounded by beauty and a constant stream of travelers. Yet in Paradise, people treat others with respect and love.
Action Steps To Make This Kind Of Community Building Work For You
You don’t have to go to the beach to discover community building secrets that really work, though I do recommend it (actually it’s not very expensive if you travel in the non-peak seasons). Aside from the warm weather and the sights, getting away from the day-in and day-out that occupies all of our time, energy and concentration can be incredibly rewarding. It also provides a way to recharge and gain new clarity.
Step One: Make sure you give yourself the time and space to recharge regularly, even if that means getting out and going for a walk.
Step Two: Community building core principles lie in how you value other people. Make practicing the Golden Rule, and choosing to value other people beyond what they may give you as the #1 priority in your outreach objectives. We’re naturally drawn to people who make us feel valued. We inherently want to support people who do this and be a part of what it is that they’re doing. That’s powerful building principles at work and it starts with valuing others.
Step Three: Make executing your unique experience the goal of every engagement you have with people. Since you’re focus and intention is on providing a great experience for people whom you highly value, operating out of the passion of what you do comes naturally, and it impacts the right people to support your work.
One other little note, we did this whole trip for less than $2000. Artists and entrepreneurs alike can take a great trip and not spend a fortune. My wife wrote a blog post today (ironically) on how we did this trip for so cheap and how you can do the same. Read it HERE.
Does this beach experience make you want to grow a more dynamic community around your work and passion? Good! Reach out to me in the comments and let’s talk about how you can have a more thriving connection of supporters of your work.