Canadian Rental Service

At your service: Lessons from Jamaica

By Russ Dantu   

Features Business Intelligence

We can learn a thing or two from looking at the practices at a top-end resort.

We recently enjoyed a tropical vacation to Negril, Jamaica. We stayed at the Couples Swept Away Resort for the third time. I’ve been doing at least one tropical vacation per year since 2001 and most of those have been at all-inclusive resorts. We’ve never stayed at the same resort twice, let alone three times, but this place is spectacular! Apart from the seven miles of white sand beach you can walk along and the spectacular turquoise-blue 86-degree water, this resort does a lot to separate itself from their competition.

It starts with the bar service. When you order liquor off of their form each day, they actually bring you a 26-ounce bottle, not the mini-bar ones.

Then there’s the food. With many all-inclusive places, after about seven days, you start getting tired of the food. Not at Couples Swept Away. Apart from their wonderful a la carte restaurants, their main buffet has something different every night. Rack of lamb, curry goat, jerk lobster and shrimp, ox stew, and a fresh pasta bar where the chef whips up something to your liking with many options for vegetarians and vegans alike.

The gym features the best fitness equipment I’ve ever seen at a resort. At least 20 machines, lots of free weights, an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis, pickle ball, squash courts and a smoothie bar. They actually bring in guest instructors from around the world to teach. These instructors stay here for free as long as they teach two hours a day, so if you want a tennis lesson, spin class, yoga on the beach or circuit training, it’s all included.


They take the water activities to an all new level as well. The catamaran tour, snorkeling, glass-bottom boat and diving are all part of the package. No extra fees. Of course, they have water bikes, kayaks, paddle boards and Hobie cats as well.

Once you are a return guest, they do a very special dinner for all who wish to attend. All the seafood and beef tenderloin you can eat. Their management and team leaders all attend and are introduced and they thank you for coming back again. A nice touch!

Upstairs where their offices are and their money exchange booth, they have a wall of fame. It’s quite large and anyone who has stayed there 10 times or more, can have their picture added if they want. I am amazed at how many people have stayed 15, 20 and 25 times but the one couple has stayed there 56 times. You’re probably thinking the same thing I was – why didn’t these people just buy a place in Jamaica? Maybe they just like being pampered.

There are so many things this resort does right that we can use in our own business practices. Here are three things that stood out to me while there.

What would it mean to you to have a customer who has done business with you 56 times? This place is not cheap by any means so visiting them 56 times is incredible. Recognizing customers like that gives everyone the message that you value and reward repeat business.

Having been to over 20 all-inclusive resorts, this property really sets themselves apart from their competitors. Don’t be just another rental store. Stand out in at least one way and preferably several.

The nice extra touches reinforce the great offering. Sometimes it isn’t enough to just give great service, you need to remind people that they’ve received great service. The little extras draw their attention to that.

There is always room for improvement, even for this resort.  I haven’t commented on the staff but I’ll leave that to next time. There were some fabulous staff and there were some very disgruntled staff which really affected the culture. 

Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service for over 15 years. Visit

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