The Power of the People - The essential ingredient in Tourism
In today’s world, we seem to be making things more automated, with less contact with people and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the pressure to do this. Yet we forget that due to the intangible nature of tourism it’s the human contact that often makes this the memorable experience we seek. So how do we do both; keep people safe but connect with them so they appreciate the destination they visit?
It’s actually not that hard, and to summarise in one word, it would have to be ‘authentic’. We know that tourism is not everyone’s cup of tea as a career choice, in fact, some of my best friends would squirm at the thought of having to meet new people every day and be nice to them and tell them stories you have probably told 100 times before but you tell it in a way that you feel like you have never told it before. Unfortunately, I see similar kinds of people too often actually working in the tourism industry.
Makes me think we need to have a ‘pre-requisite quiz’ before entering into the industry;
“Can you look past people’s flaws and treat them with the utmost respect?”
“Can you be proud of your product and showcase that passion every day?”
“Can you work with other products to build destination awareness?”
“Can you unselfishly think of the destination first and your product second?”
“Can you see competitors as allies?”
“Do you get excited about trying to turn someone’s bad day into a better day?”
“Do you get joy out of seeing your customers happy and smiling?”
“Can you tell stories to build a deeper understanding of your ‘place’?”
“Can you read people and adapt your service offering to what they are seeking?”
The Walt Disney Company has a system of service delivery that is identified by the 4 ‘keys’. One of these keys is ‘show’ and they interpret this to mean that every cast member (every employee of Disney World or Disneyland) is on stage every time they come in contact with a customer, and never disclose ‘backstage’ happenings. I love this analogy, as too often I see behavior in our beloved industry that you would not claim to be your best customer interface or ‘onstage’ performance. Everyone and I mean everyone, has things happening in their personal life that is hard at some stage or another, but when you enter the hospitality, tourism, service, or health industry your job is to be there for the customer’s needs and forget your own. As hard as this may be, this is the career we chose. You don’t see a professional soccer player recruited to the national team saying I don’t feel like kicking the ball today. Then we must bring our customer service to the ‘show’ every day to make memorable engaging experiences that will not only satisfy current visitors but will replicate by word of mouth to new visitors.
A town or location has Tourism if it has customers visiting and they inject money into the businesses in return for products and services. The same location can have a Tourism Industry if organisations work together to promote the destination to entice more visitors to travel to the region. But the location can have a sustainable industry and become an iconic destination if they provide a great customer interface as well as a great visitor experience and product.
If your team needs a refresh on some tips and hints on providing the best customer interface they can, reach out to the team at Visitor Economy Development. 1 hour to full-day workshops may just give your team your own ‘keys’ to unlock ambassadors out of your current visitors.