My experience at Austria’s Hotel Jagdhof

As a keynote speaker one of the things I enjoy most about sharing my thoughts about customer service, social media and branding is the variety of the locations I’m invited to speak. I’ve now given my presentation in Mexico, across North America, London, Glasgow, Prague, Siberia, Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in Australia and Dubai. With many of the events, I’ve been blown away by the quality of the hotels and conference spaces and last week I enjoyed an amazing experience in Austria that I think is worth sharing.

After presenting in Innsbruck at the SDT conference (for people who design great customer service experiences), I had the opportunity to spend two days at the Hotel Jagdhof (pronounced “Yagtoff”) which is a 2nd generation family owned Spa hotel in the Stubai Valley, 20 minutes outside Innsbruck. The hotel can accommodate roughly 175 guests and is owned by Armin and Christina Pfurtscheller. Armin’s father had the vision to build the facility at the same time as the nearby glacier was being developed for skiing and the Jagdhof has been a jewel in the valley ever since. Today the Stubai Glacier opens in late October making it the earliest opportunity to ski in the Northern hemisphere, and the hotel is an all-season resort.

From the outside the Jagdhof is a five story traditional chalet style construction hotel of stucco and dark wood beams and flower boxes surrounding each balcony. My room was well appointed, including a private sauna, bathtub and separate shower and a spacious balcony overlooking the mountains and Stubai Glacier. If you want to relax in your room then it’s more than possible to do that in your private space.

The Jagdhof is all about service and experience. The ladies working the front desk are dressed in traditional dresses. Their incredible spa offers 15 different types of steam bath and sauna rooms for men, women and couples, as well as a variety of massage and treatment spaces. There’s an indoor pool that connects with the outside pool and hot tub. There are lounges placed around the grounds for people interested in relaxing to the backdrop of the surrounding mountains and quiet of the valley.

They offer a fine dining experience on a menu that changes daily using local ingredients whenever possible. Armin joined us for dinner on both nights and with my first dinner I was treated to venison that was cultivated by the hotel’s own hunter from their 3000 hectare private game reserve. On the second evening we ate lamb that came from Armin’s fathers nearby sheep farm. Their chef is one of the best in Austria and the hotel’s cuisine and facility has been deemed best in class by critics.

Armin takes great pride in the wine cellar he has developed over the years and his sommelier’s pairing’s of world class wines with both meals was perfect, in my opinion, as he took the time to explain his choices. After dinner we retired to the piano bar to a warm, comfortable atmosphere before Armin invited me downstairs for a wine tasting in his cellar. There, I enjoyed the finest glass of red wine to ever pass my lips and received an education at the same time. That was an incredible experience and Armin explained that he does this once a week for guests at the Jagdhof.

Despite the fact that the amenities of the hotel are world class what struck me about the Jagdhof was the attention to detail and work ethic of its owners. Armin and Christina work seven days a week, aside from short holidays away at their lowest season, and they are absolutely committed to delivering quality experiences to all of their guests. They are friendly, present and engaged with everyone and as a result their excellent staff follows their lead.

Many hotels offer material luxuries but Armin and Christina are the Jagdhof’s secret ingredient that make this hotel tower above any chain competitor in its class. When you leave the Jagdhof you feel as though you are saying goodbye to old friends and that experience cannot be bought; it can only be shared. Armin and Christina understand the difference and that is why the hotel Jagdhof will continue to be the jewel of the Stubai Valley when they pass ownership of the hotel to their son in just a few years.

Dave Carroll set to release new CD Raincoat in Vegas!

Hi Everyone,

Great News! I’ll be appearing with the band Thursday September 6th on CTV’s Canada AM (Be sure to tune in!) to perform songs from my new album Raincoat in Vegas and talk about my book United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media.”

Coming up on Friday September 7th, I’ll be performing at Hugh’s Room in Toronto, ON. This show will mark the official inter-galactic release of my long anticipated recording, Raincoat In Vegas.

Because I’ve been busy in so many new areas these last three years, Raincoat in Vegas represents my re-commitment to my first passion of writing songs and making music. With the help of some very talented friends in the Halifax music scene, I’m extremely proud to release these 11 new original songs that I crafted to sound good to my ears and yours!

It will also be my first performance in Toronto since the launch of my book, so come and enjoy listening to some great stories and hear a collection of my highly regarded original songs that have nothing to do with customer service… and for dessert, leave with a signed copy of the book and new Raincoat in Vegas CD.


United Airlines & Unaccompanied Children Passengers

I’ve received hundreds of notifications now and been ask to comment in the media about the recent issue with United Airlines where 10 year old Phoebe Klebahn was traveling as an unaccompanied adult from San Francisco to Michigan with a connection along the way . Her parents had paid a premium to have her met and escorted at the connecting airport. United had outsourced the job of escorting Phoebe to another company and, for whatever reason, that company failed to do their job and no one was there to meet Phoebe. She missed her connection and when her flight got to Michigan, where she was to arrive to attend summer camp, Phoebe wasn’t on it and her parents were notified. Unfortunately no United employee took ownership of the issue and for a short time Phoebe was left on her own and her parents were left uninformed creating stress and, I imagine, panic until they could locate their daughter. Eventually an off duty employee, after pleading from Phoebe’s parents, did the right thing and got her going to where she needed to be. United apologized and refunded the family their money for the escort fee.

Fortunately there were no serious implications from this incident but it’s worth commenting on for a few reasons. Most importantly, anything concerning children needs to be taken seriously and United seem to have made a mistake in who they chose to outsource a pretty basic, but essential service. They did this to save money I presume and charged $99 for that service. Clearly something went wrong and this mistake will cost the airline dearly in brand damage. Nobody really cares who the company was that didn’t do their job because, as far as the consumer is concerned, it was United’s job. UA took their $99 and will carrying the brunt of the mess-up. The lesson here: don’t outsource jobs that can embarrass you if they are done by companies who provide worse service than you do. I’d personally like to know the name of company that forgot Phoebe so I can never pay them be responsible for my kids.

Another point is that there were several UA employees who knew Phoebe’s situation and did not leap into action to solve it. That I find troubling as well. It’s one thing to be insensitive to someone’s baggage needs if you’re busy doing your specific job, but we’re talking about 10 year old girl here. A lost child trumps everything and if there’s any question within the UA culture about what the priority should have been concerning Phoebe, then I hope this incident serves to put that question to bed. It shouldn’t require an incentive to act to help a child, but maybe the answer needs to be this simple: in the future when a United employee discovers an unaccompanied passenger who was forgotten by the escort, they should be expected to drop what they’re doing and see that the child is properly cared for and escorted according to plan. In addition to be commended by management for taking a leadership role, they should get the $99 that the outsourced company neither earned nor deserves. That would prevent future incidents like this from occurring and build brand loyalty to UA. While I’m sure UA sincerely regrets the incident, their inaction as a company to respond to the missed escort has left the airline with a missed opportunity to show they really care about their passengers.

What should United’s response have been? Here’s what I think

1) Apologize in media and online (done)
2) Refund Phoebe’s parents (done)
3) Take responsibility to prevent this from happening in the future (Not done).

United could turn this PR nightmare around by spending time ensuring there is a safety net to ensure children are protected in future, and then tell everyone about what the plan is. Phoebe’s parents deserve an apology but that’s not as important to me. My kid wasn’t lost in an airport. I want to know that should I send my sons on an unaccompanied flight that this won’t happen to me. Right now, I don’t know that and wouldn’t trust the service, and that’s why this will cost the airline real dollars in addition to brand devaluation.

Emirates Airlines: Sheiks of Middle East Customer Service

Today, I was given amazing service by Emirates Airlines having just arrived in Dubai from London. I had been excited to fly for the first time on the A380 Airbus. My ticket was originally booked as an economy ticket, but I was given a complimentary upgrade when I checked in, as space was available. However, the A380 was delayed for several hours for some reason. So when I landed with Air Canada in London, England from Halifax, Nova Scotia, I was met at the AC doorway by an Emirates employee. She walked me through the UK customs fast track. At that time, I was given the option to wait a minimum of 3 additional hours at Heathrow for the A380, or they could drive me to Gatwick Airport for a flight at my originally scheduled time. It would “only be” a Boeing 777, but I said “Ok” to the Gatwick option because I was already arriving after midnight.

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Join me on my Nova Scotia Theatre tour this Spring!

I’m heading off on a “mini tour” of Nova Scotia this week and looking forward to sharing songs and stories with audiences across the province.    I’ll be bringing with me Mike Hiltz on bass & Chris Iannetti on guitar. We’re looking forward to playing your Dave Carroll favourites as well as share a sneak preview of songs to be released on my upcoming new album “Raincoat in Vegas.”  Stay tuned for more on the album release date and for more touring dates.

See you at the shows!


Show locations, dates and ticket info:

Gripevine: New site lets you get your gripe out

Photo (c) Chronicle Herald, photo by Christian Laforce

February 6th, 2012
Halifax Chronicle Herald
Article by Bill Power

A new social media-driven business with a Nova Scotia connection wants to make the world a better place by giving people a place to gripe. is one of the latest ventures from Waverley entertainer Dave Carroll. He gained some notoriety for his United Breaks Guitars song, one of 2010’s top-10 most viewed YouTube videos.

Carroll said Monday this is the first online social media platform for consumer-complaint resolution. He and a couple of Ontario partners launched the site recently after a round of beta testing by 600 select users and corporations.

“There is something therapeutic about sitting around and griping with your friends, but with the magic of social media, there is a method to make sure your complaints actually get heard,” the singer-songwriter and speaker on consumer issues said in an interview.

Read more Launches First Social Media Network for Consumer Complaint Resolution

July 6th, 2012
PR Newswire Press Release

Consumer Advocacy Platform Provides Users a Free & Simple Venue for Corporate Gripes

NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ —, the first online social media platform for consumer-complaint resolution, announced today the launch of its much anticipated network following closed beta testing by 600 select users and corporations.

Through its proprietary response technology, Gripevine’s unique service offers consumers a free and easy-to-use interface where they can post and promote in-depth public complaints about any company and have them automatically brought to the attention of company decision makers who have the power to resolve complaints. With Gripevine’s advanced enterprise dashboard, companies can track thousands of complaints per day through various departments between multiple agents, as well as integrate consumer complaints from Gripevine’s enterprise dashboard into internal corporate CRM systems.

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Get your complaints resolved at

Customer service start-up launches to help consumers resolve situations with companies

After United Airlines broke musician Dave Carroll’s guitar, he turned a bad situation into a good one. He wrote a song. It went so viral that United couldn’t help but see it and respond. He’s now made a career out of consumer advocacy.

The incident inspired Carroll and his co-founders to create the website Gripevine. Even if you can’t write a song, this site will help you get a response from companies you feel have wronged you.

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Chicago Tribune: "'United Breaks Guitars' spawns complaint site"

By Gregory Karp
A Canadian songwriter who became famous for slamming United Airlines in a cleverYouTube music video that went viral, has helped start an online complaint website this week. Read more