7th September 2012
In Search of Excellence
The high standards of the award-winning Islesburgh House Hostel have attracted a study visit from a Norwegian entrepreneur and Hostel manager.
Ole Røhnebæk owns a bike tour company and manages youth hostels in Hamar and Lillehammer. He’s spending a fortnight in Shetland thanks to the 2012 Leonardo da Vinci programme, a European-funded project which helps organisations in the vocational education sector to work with partners from across Europe to exchange best practice and increase expertise.
Ole first met Dale Smith, Islesburgh Team Leader, atHostelling International's Annual Managers' Meeting in Vienna last December, and was struck by his talk on Shetland, and the work being done here.Dale spoke about Shetland in general, what attracts tourists, the difficulties in getting here, the festivals, wildlife andmusic.He also spoke about the need to have well trained staff who are interested in every customer. His philosophy on customer care is fairly simple and the staff buy into this: "always do what's expected, then do a bit more". It actually works and the feedbackIslesburghgets proves it. ”When closinghis acceptance speech on receiving the BestHostelin the World, Dale dedicated the award to all the staff in Islesburgh, a gesture that got ahugeround of applause.
Commenting on his visit to Shetland, Ole said: ‘Shetland in general, and the Islesburgh Hostelas a natural base camp, has already inspired me a lot. All the people I have met - in the cafe, on the bus, at the Bike rental, the museumand in the hostel- do everything they can to ensure visitors enjoy a memorable stay. They not only answer your questions but they support them with their enthusiasm and local knowledge. This attitude makes all the difference. I will work on this when I get home and train my staff to be more like Shetlanders.’
Dale says he’s impressed with Ole’s commitment to good practice, and pleased he chose to visit Islesburgh: ‘Ole is a natural when it comes to customer care, he's very friendly, approachable and outgoing. Whilst we're naturally delighted he chose to come to Islesburgh to learn, we're sure we will learn from him as well. The world of hostel management is exceptionally good at sharing information, tips and feedback.’