Trekking in a jungle in the middle of Indonesia. For an urban princess like me it’s quite a challenge.
At first I didn’t want to do it at all, because I’m not up for stuff like that. I even don’t like the mountains or jungle that much. But Wanwan, the owner of the On The Rocks hotel was telling , such beautiful stories about trekking that I thought: You only live once! I’m going to try 2 days of it (it crossed my mind that perhaps 1 day would be more than enough – but – I just decided to go crazy;)
My courage and enthusiasm was one thing,.. but I had no boots, sleeping bag, pillow or raincoat. I had nothing! So, I had good excuse; “I’d love to …but I won’t make it”. But Bukit Lawang is famous not only for orangutans – for amazingly kind people as well.
“We are here to make sure you have happy holidays. So don’t worry too much”
People in Bukit Lawang, contrary to inhabitants of many other tourist locations:
- Love where they are and what they do.
- Understand that for tourists it’s a new and important experience.
- Are grateful that tourists come from far away to see their country, because in the end they could have gone elsewhere.
- They appreciate that tourists put a lot of trust in them.
- They also understand that tourists have limited time and want to see the orangutans first and foremost.
They totally and unconditionally love the place where they work.
Why is it important; because in the end of the day – there is no difference between tourist and consumers. People who buy brands –also have a HUGE choice and they CHOSE you. So your attitude as a brand is responsible for creating their experience.
That’s why I lean so much about business and brand managing when I travel. I look what make tourist happy and I know that exactly the same things will make happy consumer. Any consumer, of any brand.
So here what I learn from Bukit Lawang people:
- They don’t aspire for this trip to be the “best holidays ever” for the tourist.
But they can and want to make the tourist spend time pleasantly in their company.
- They don’t promises. They just CARE. And do the best do you feel you have the best time WITH THEM.
When Wanwan saw my running shoes he said; Adidas is pretty, but why don’t you use my shoes – and he lend me a pair in my size. He also get me raincoat, and . talk me not to bring book ; I promises you will not be bored please leave them here. Yes – all of them. (as I was to terrified with carrying my backpack decides to trust)
When we were ready to set out, our guide, Anto, said; “If your backpack is too heavy or uncomfortable for you, let us know. We’ll gladly carry it. You must feel comfortable and content – in the end it’s your vacation!”
No one would be heartless enough to give them one’s own backpack after seeing those two small men carrying much heavier bags with food for the whole group. Thus, it was even more touching when they used some little tricks to help us anyway.
“Give me your camera. It’s steep here. You will be more comfortable and I’ll feel better seeing you come down safely!”
They didn’t ask whether we were tired because they knew “ego of white people” .Instead, they ordered fruit breaks: “you cannot let your water or blood sugar levels get too low.” We all knew that it is a lie. But we chose to believe that lie. We were tired. And grateful that we were not pushed to confirm it.
“Trekking is not a competition, you are here to have a nice time”
Role of guide was to save us from ape attacks, protect our bags during rafting and got up at 5 AM every morning to prepare breakfast for us. We always thanked them from the hearts for their care, they were hugging us and saying: “No problem. It’s my job, I am happy to do it.”
“We are honest people.Our smiles are real, not made up. Thank you for coming to our land.”
I love Bukit Lawang not only because of the beauty of that place, but because it reminded me that when your product is great and you genially like it – you enthusiasm and kindness is the best marketing strategy.
Yes – we do live in very complicated world, but if you think that promoting your brand is more difficult that to promote small village in Indonesia – think about the perspective; they complete with literally every place in the world.. and you?
I love that place as it reminds me that I have to protect my own love to my work as it is the best new business driver.
And as I researcher my job is to remind my clients that people love small but genuine care way more than huge but manageless promises.
I came to Bukit Lawang as a lover of orangutans but I left as a worshipper of beautiful people and Bukit Lawang.
The greatest lesson for business is that authentic love is not something that you can learn.
That’s why I deeply believe that people should always do what they like. And as soon as they don’t like their work- repair their love or go.
And one more lesson – to CARE, to be careFULL you cannot learn.
You can learn many things, even ethnography (which is not an easy thing to do), but you cannot learn true love, care and passion. You have to find person that was bring you this way, who has care in her/his DNA, employ them and do your best for them not to leave.
PS. Agnieszka, Marta, Ania, Kasia, Monika, Paulina – you’re my people of the jungle at Rzymska 1. Thank you