When Trip Advisor Meets Benito Mojito

By Christos Tsolkas

This is Benito, early 50s, feeding five mouths, from Mexico.  Exceptional waiter,

unmatched, he “reads the table” perfectly. Coming up and down, sweating under the 35 degree Celsius sun, bringing foods and drinks to the residents of an exotic pool. But he does much more than serve his customers and bring enjoyment and refreshments: he is a dopamine agent.


I had a chance to watch him in action closely when I was searching for a knife to cut an apple into pieces. I hadn’t been able to find a knife anywhere in the hotel although I visited two restaurants and two bars. The apple sat next to me for 30 minutes or so, uncut. Suddenly Benito, with a 25 cm butcher knife came up and asked, “Weren’t you looking for a knife sir? Please help yourself.” “Wow,” I said. “Thanks!”


I wanted to give him a tip and waited until my departure to hand him a good one.


When I did, his response was unexpected. He kindly accepted the tip – five mouths to feed – but he told me, “Sir if you really want to help, just mention my name, Benito Mojito, at your departure. This way, there will be a chance that my boss will appreciate my work and I might get a better salary increase or even a bonus.” He handed me in his business card. “That’s easy,” I said, “I can do that.”


Then Benito took it another step. With a smile he said, “And if you really want to help me, and give my career a jolt, just write a review in Trip Advisor and mention my name”


I thought that was fascinating, and it got me thinking.


Learning #1: Trip Advisor review is the replacement of Performance Appraisal Systems. No need for complex and expensive HR Performance systems, with reporting, stakeholders, bureaucracy and the like. Just a review in an acknowledged and massively used open digital platform and there you go. Job done.


Learning #2: In a very practical way, I experienced the transition into what Daniel Pink calls Motivation 3.0.

Benito is not so intrigued with the extrinsic reward and immediate gratification i.e. the traditional tip. Bonuses and tips are classic 2.0 type of drive and the basis of our contemporary motivation theory, i.e., carrots and sticks. But Benito is thinking about the future and the progression of his career too. Testimony of a customer’s satisfaction gives him pleasure and helps his career advancement. This is the foundation of a new motivation frameworks.


And that was the reason I became a Trip Advisor reviewer.



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