Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Before starting work in the backpackers, I had never entered the door, or even entertained the thought of staying at one, in my life, ever! Hold that thought while I add the fact that I had absolutely not one skerrick of experience working hotel (or backpackers) reception. Hence the learning curve for my current job working reception at Pickled Frog Backpackers has been steep! But – I LOVE it.

A career change is guaranteed to challenge anyone, and this one was no exception. I stuffed up royally many times to start with, but have taken off the L plates, and now feel competent at dealing with pretty well any eventuality that confronts me over the course of a shift.

The best part of the job is the customer service. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll be aware of the fact that Rita’s focus in life is customer service. I live to provide the optimum in excellent customer service, and this job provides me with the outlet to do exactly that.

Numerous times over the course of a day, guests approach reception asking questions – about the most varied and unlikely things! The normal questions are about hiring cars and campervans, tours to go on, places I consider they should go to, trips they should take, things they should see and do, places they should eat, places where they can shop, bus timetables etc. More uncommon questions are around buying 2nd hand cars, car registration, car insurance, second hand and op shops, second hand book shops, camping shops, finding a share house and finding seasonal or casual jobs.

From the above list, you can see one needs to possess a fair amount of knowledge and information about Hobart, and Tasmania generally, in order to do a reasonable job.

In a past life, many years ago, whilst working at Centrelink, the order was that you weren’t to pre-empt any questions asked by clients or provide them with additional information – you were only to answer questions that were actually (verbally) asked. This job is the opposite of that directive (and you can see how Rita would have been a square peg in a round hole in THAT Centrelink job!) – the more info you can give the guests, the more helpful it is for them, and the more they appreciate the extra mile you go for them.

I love the diversity of the guests. I love it that they all return from a day’s sightseeing raving about Tasmania’s beauty. I love it when they can’t wait to see me when they return and tell me they did what I had suggested, and that my suggestions were brilliant!

I am learning heaps about different races of people. I am impressed at the adventurousness and enthusiasm of these (mostly) younger people. They arrive here at the Frog, and straight away are into it – trekking up Mt Wellington for the afternoon, or rushing off to hire a bike and pedal off up the East Coast, or hopping a bus and heading out to Cadburys or up to the brewery! No lazy lounging around the hotel for them, catching up on the latest in daytime TV and ordering room service!

And they LOVE chatting! They love telling you about where they’ve come from, what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, their family, their jobs, their savings. Luckily I love listening to them, so we all have a great time!

It’s not ALL beer and skittles – there are a few aspects which annoy me, but luckily they are few and far between, and generally, for both job satisfaction and enjoyment level, I truly recommend this type of job to anyone who loves to get paid for talking and enjoying themselves!
Posted on by Rita


Snuva said...

I'm so glad that not only are you enjoying the career switch but also that someone like you is helping out backpackers/representing Tassie! Being a backpacker can be so much fun - lots of memories concentrated into such a short space of time! But can also be so exhausting / frustrating if you can't find someone to help out at times.

I used to live in Paris (among many other places). If I saw people struggling over a map, I tried to make a point of seeing if I could help them. I remembered from my backpacking days that the smallest offer of help or smile could change around your day.

ut si said...

Wow Rita, you sound so happy! You are so perfect for this job & clearly your clients think so too. Well done gorgeous!

Rita said...

Thanks Snuva - yes, I can see that the guests are cramming so much into their time away from their normal lives - and am happy to be part of their memories, if that's what stands out for them! I have made some wonderful friends from ex-guests, and hope we will continue to keep in touch. In fact I am planning on having a Christmas meal for those present at work on Xmas Day. We have 3 ex-guests and 2 current long-termers - all of whom have made the decision to prolong their time in Tassie because they love it so much here, and have obtained various types of work in and around Hobart. We will all eat an Xmas meal on Christmas night together at the Frog, and I hope that will go some way towards helping them have an Xmas which will be a bit more fun than cooking up a packet of noodles on Xmas Day on their own!
Colette - yes, I am really happy doing this job, and in fact feel guilty calling it a 'job', as it's a pleasure doing it, not a chore at all!

Anonymous said...

Rita... been a long time between reads I am afraid and surprised to hear of your career change, but pleased to hear you are loving it.