As I’ve written about previously, one of the most powerful aspects of Social is its ability to break down corporate and entrenched hierarchies. Airlines are being forced to listen to customers not flying in the first class cabin, videos of poor delivery service can earn almost 10 million views, and cable companies are being publicly pilloried by none other than Captain Picard.
I’d like to continue to flatten this hierarchy and am officially announcing the inaugural Wally Awards for excellence in, among other things, airline experience, hotel, and best technology. There are lots of people and organizations out there doing fantastic things every day, and for this they deserve a Wally!
And with that, I’m proud to present the first ever Wallies for:
Best dining experience
Tierra Verde; Battersea, London
Despite its modest exterior, Tierra Verde is hands down one of my favorite places – not just for food – in London. From its amazing offering of organic jamon and olives, delicious Spanish wines, and fresh cakes and breads to its friendly owner and staff, comfortable communal seating, and neighborhood atmosphere, I can’t say enough about Tierra Verde.
Best hotel experience
Kinsterna Hotel; Monemvasia, Greece
Not only is the Kinsterna incredibly beautiful, the staff is among the friendliest, most accommodating, and and just generally pleasant I’ve ever experienced. Hats off to this amazing place, its incredible food grown on-premise, and the service they provide.
Best Coffee Spot
Birdhouse; Battersea, London
Whether you’re into single origin from an AeroPress or just want your morning flat white, Birdhouse is consistently excellent. Throw in their fantastic bocoditos (highly recommend the iberico) and all-day brunch featuring things like corn fritters and smoked salmon with dill, and the tractor beam is locked. The minimalist decor and sometimes grudgingly friendly staff only make me love it more.
Best Airline Experience
FLIGHT: Turkish Airlines; LHR to IST
Best airline’s a tricky one. I know the bar’s been lowered quite a bit over the past 10 or so years, but with updated planes, edible food, and friendly service, Turkish Airlines narrowly beats out Qatar Airways for my best flying experience of the year. That being said, their website and booking system is approaching dreadful, and because of that:
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: KLM; LHR to AMS
Ubiquitous on Twitter, quick to answer the phone, and able to quickly change flights, KLM’s customer service sets my bar for how airlines should be providing customer service in the digital age.
Best Technology Device/Accessory
This keyboard pairs quickly and reliably with my iPad, maintains battery life for days on end, and weighs in at 180 grams. Combine this with the fact that its under a quarter-inch thick, and I’ve found my new go-to go-anywhere portable keyboard.
Best Technology Service – Sky Sports Red Button
It doesn’t always work properly, but when it does I’m in five simultaneous game Champions League heaven.
Best Train Ride – East Coast, London to Newcastle
Faster than flying, quiet cars, and power outlets. East Coast actually gives me that romantic train travel feeling Amtrak slaughtered many years ago. On the flip side, their wifi leaves a lot to be desired.
Let’s continue to flatten the social hierarchy! Who provided you great service, a smooth ride, or a delicious meal this year?
Congratulations and thank you to the winners of the 2014 Wally Awards!