Above & Beyond
Published by National Post | By Sydney Loney
Ice cream delivered by camel in the desert? Personalized, surprising service elevated to ‘an art form.’
“The guides at Butterfield & Robinson have built pop-up hotels in the remote Shan state of northern Burma, led secret candlelit tours of Machu Picchu in Peru, and once even chartered a plane to fly a forgotten stuffed bunny across the Serengeti. “The family’s whole experience of their trip to Tanzania would have been destroyed, so we went to superhuman efforts to get the bunny back to their little girl,” says Norman Howe, former guide and now president and CEO of the bespoke Toronto-based travel company.
Expectations of service in the travel industry have shifted since the company first began booking trips 50 years ago. “The stuff that used to be creative, mind-blowingly exceptional service now feels like a starting point,” Howe says. Which is where B&R’s guides come in.
The secret, he says, is to hire interesting, compelling characters who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of standard travel service, then give them the freedom to create memorable moments every time they set out.”