Thoughts on DOH, Jordan, and service cultures

30 03 2008

Dad, I think this airport has changed since you last were here. It is actually not bad. I could not get my earlier flight, so I did in the end stay over at the Marriott Doha. A very nice hotel. Great service.

My plane at the gate in AMM

The relative culture shock of flying from Amman to Doha – 2 hours – was more striking than I imagined. Jordan is poor, not Africa poor, mind you, but definitely not Doha rich. But I think what most struck me is the difference in service between between two Marriotts – Petra and Doha – which I think speak a bit of the two cultures. If, of course, lots of money is a culture.

In Petra, when you went to a restaurant, there were allot of staff, but one quickly found the service wanting. It seemed that all the staff really wanted to do was lean back and have a smoke, and would only do something if yelled at by their immediate supervisor. Of course, the big issue is is that the supervisor really just wanted to lean back and have a smoke, unless of course he was yelled at by his supervisor. I think the General Manager of the Petra Marriott was leaning back having a smoke.

I decided to try to see what would happen if I yelled. The afternoon after seeing Petra, I decided to sit on the balcony over the mountains writing postcards, having a Pepsi Diet, and maybe a late lunch. An hour after the first Pepsi and no sign of any staff interested in helping, I went and yelled at the front desk. Not too loudly, or too much, but I did yell. I then went to my room for a nap. When I came back that night, I noticed an improved level of service.

*shrugs* Different cultures. πŸ™‚

Sunset over Saudi Arabia

The Marriott Doha was, on the other hand, generally has a culture of buying the best service they could from around the world. The owners laid down a list of what they wanted, and they would pay of it. You had a feeling that if you they did not get it, they would just go out and pay someone else for it. Even given that, service felt warm and genuine. Talking to the restaurant manager, of all the countries he had worked in, he found Qatar the best.

Well, I am finishing up this post on the flight from Doha to Colombo. A plane that seats 335 people with 57 on board. This is definately the flight of the migrant worker. I was on an A330-300 from Amman, a plane rather bigger than this A300-600, but it sat nearly 100 people less than this aircraft. Another observation: the front of the plane is all Caucasian, bussed in from a different terminal, while I am the only non-Sri Lankin in Economy. Not that I am surprised…

Up next is three nights in Sri Lanka, with a day in Kandy if I can arrange transportation.


Update – since I wrote this, I came into Colombo. The drive in made Amman look like Saskatoon, and it is a Sunday πŸ™‚ Plane was empty (it seems all of them are, according to the Hilton fellow at the Airport). Going tomorrow to see about train tickets to Kandy tomorrow…




2 responses

31 03 2008

Culture shock: perhaps the best reason for travel…
Great pics from Petra, btw.
Enjoying the blog, and glad you’re enjoying the trip!

1 04 2008

Culture shock? Not Jordan. More like culture annoyance *grins*

Sri Lanka, on the other hand ….


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