It’s amazing how little effort some people and places – people and places that want your money, by the way – put into being even moderately hospitable. You get stuck in a long slow-moving queue at the airport and, just as you almost make it to the front, there’s a shift change and every immigration official ups and leaves their post. Then you wait another 30 minutes as the lone passport basher who turns up for the next shift tries to clear hundreds of passengers. Meanwhile, some crazed video plays out telling passengers – who have just spent nine hours on a plane and are rather keen to get out of here – how great this nation is and how delighted they are to have you visit. Really? Apart from poking you in the eye with a stick they have done everything possible to make you very ill-disposed to this place. That’s why we wanted to produce an issue on hospitality. It’s about courtesy and decency but it’s about so much more: it shows the world what kind of business or nation you really are. And sometimes the reflection is not pretty.
But don’t just take our word for it. In a first for us, we asked readers signed up to our weekly Bulletin email for their views – and their comments poured in. While we’re not a magazine that’s all that keen on naming and shaming, we have put the spotlight on some of the less successful players in this field. Of course, we have also concentrated on finding the companies benchmarking best practice. Turn the page to see what gets monocle readers a little riled – and smiling too. You’ll find the hospitality theme rattling like a well-stocked drinks trolley throughout the issue. We hear how Brazilian hospitality star Rogerio Fasano runs his empire, look at the way in which Spain opens its culture to the world, visit the companies who build the best restaurants and hotels, reveal how to say “thank you” in Finland and pull up a stool in some old-school Japenese bars.
If you missed out on taking part in the survey, we’re sorry. All you need to do is head to monocle.com and sign up for our Bulletin and you will be kept up to date with all the news from our headquarters in Midori House. You can also sign up to the Monocle Minute: a daily emailed news briefing on all the topics we are passionate about. We also do a nice one at the weekends that regularly covers hospitality.
But for now let us hold open the editorial door and invite you in with a genuine smile to explore the issue. No need to rush; we are here to make sure you have an enjoyable visit.