You don’t need to stay in a five star hotel or dine in the best restaurants to feel well treated and looked after. Sometimes all it takes are a few simple touches to give you a nice experience when you’re on holiday. The most important thing is a smile because when it’s lacking you really notice it.
My recent experience on the Greek Island of Ios is a case in point. My host, Katerina, meets me at the port, and transports my luggage by bicycle, her riding, me trotting along behind. She asks where I’ve come from, where I’m going. She explains a bit about the area when I say I haven’t been here before. She smiles, and smiles some more.
At the studios she runs around explaining how everything works, there are free bottles of water in the fridge, and mosquito strips for the mozzy light. She’s apologetic about the wifi and says it only works downstairs, but then organises a makeshift table and chair so I have an outdoor office. She brings me homemade pastries. She says if I need anything to call her on her mobile and she will come within ten minutes. She gives me a map, and shows me the outside light switch. She then leaves, smiling.
All this takes place within half an hour but already I feel at home, comfortable, armed with directions, food, internet connection and well treated. The next day she brings me a homemade pasta dish, baklava and an orange.
Not that I would expect all places to deliver this kind of service but it really doesn’t take much just to give a smile and say a few pleasantries. It really could be the difference between a guest leaving an excellent review and a poor review, or choosing to avoid an entire island in the future.