For a couple of people who don’t travel much (Danita and I) September/October has been a very hectic time.
From mid-September until mid-October we had a Sydney trip, which was covered in detail over the last few posts.
We arrived home just over a week ago – Thursday 12th October.
The following Monday, 16th, Danita was on the move again with three days in Sydney for a work event.
She got back on Wednesday and then on Friday we were on the move AGAIN.
This time it was a trip to Launceston for a medical appointment for me and then off to Hobart for a weekend doing inspections of a couple of hotels.
A few years ago Danita signed up as a hospitality mystery shopper.
This means we go to various locations to do detailed reviews of the facilities, staff etc,
So far we’ve done an inner-city hotel in Sydney, a pub in Newcastle, a tour of the Opera House and this weekend were two hotels in Hobart.
How this works is; you book in as a typical guest and there are specific things you need to do, which you then do a detailed report on (with emphasis on DETAILED).
The assignments this weekend included having a drink at the bar, a High Tea, full breakfast and room service for dinner.
You are given a budget for each of those elements and you get the costs refunded (so you need to be very diligent at keeping receipts – Danita being an ex-bookkeeper is very good at that kind of detail).
There’s no payment for your time, however, we consider this as a free night in a quality hotel.
One of the criteria for being a mystery shopper is that I can’t tell you where we’ve been – so much as I’d love to share where we stayed, I can’t.
It’s fascinating visiting a hotel or restaurant with an agenda other than having somewhere pleasant to stay.
You become much more conscious of the quality of the venue and the staff.
Obviously, the idea behind this is that the hotel management get honest and detailed (have I mentioned that there is lots of detail required?) feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
For pedants like Danita and me this is well suited to our personalities (and we get to enjoy places we normally wouldn’t stay at or visit).
Since I can’t reveal any more about where we stayed I can’t give you any of the really good bits and suggestions of where to stay.
However, once we’d finished our mystery mission, the rest of today was spent being tourists in Hobart.
We had visited the Salamanca Markets, went for an evening walk around the waterfront (a very chilly experience that was), morning coffee with friends at the Farm Gate Market, a drive to the top of Mt Wellington and wrapping up with a visit to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art followed by a three hour drive to return home.
One of the things we’d promised ourselves, when we moved to Tasmania, was that we would do regular trips around the island.
As it’s not a very big one (three hour drive from bottom to top if you use the highway) that’s something we can manage.
I’m pleased to say this weekend has been an excellent fulfilment of that promise, and we’re both looking for opportunities to do more travelling.
This week is very exciting around Devonport, as we have the Masters Games, a kind of geriatric Olympics.
We have a special guest staying with us, who will be participating in the Games, so there’s a good chance we’ll be doing more tourist oriented activities.
At some point I suppose we’ll need to do some work as well – a bit of a novel experience at the moment.