Shifting Perspective: Getting Ready for the 2020 Tourism Season: February 2020

It may not feel like it, but tourism season 2020 is right around the corner, and headed this way fast. As a tourism business or operator, are you and your staff ready for the fun, excitement (and yes, sometimes chaos) that is coming your way?

Getting ready for the season is about more than just making sure your business is clean and tidy (although that’s important, too). It’s also about making sure you and your staff are prepared to deliver excellent customer service, a goal that becomes more challenging the busier you get. Often, we aren’t aware of the ways in which we may be falling short in reaching this goal.

Why Do We Need Good Customer Service?

It goes without saying that the best referral is one that comes from another customer. The grass roots review site, Tripadvisor, is a good example of exactly how big an impact referrals can have. A negative review can be challenging, while a positive review tells your potential customers that your business is one worth visiting.

But that brings to mind the question: What is good customer service? The answer will differ from business to business, but in essence it means going above and beyond the basics in order to keep the customer happy, and that customer satisfaction remains a top priority for you and your staff. In return, this will create happy and loyal customers who will return again and again, and gladly refer you to their friends and family.

Here are a few ways to make sure you’re ready for tourism season 2020.

A is for Attitude

You may treat your customers like gold, and feel good about the standard of service you provide. You are friendly, fast, efficient, and welcoming to your customer base and they appreciate that. If so, keep up the good work! Often, a friendly attitude and atmosphere comes from the top, and staff pick up on a business owner’s attitude, and perpetuate it.

On the other hand, you can’t always be aware of how staff are treating your customers in your absence. Are your staff knowledgeable about your business? Are they knowledgeable about the region? Are they in the know about initiatives and promotions relating to your business?

If you’re not sure about the answer to any of these questions some staff training may be a good idea before your customers start beating down your door. During the busy season, weekly or bi-weekly staff meetings can go far in making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations for customer service and delivery, as well as business knowledge.

Take a Closer Look

Take a good look around and try and view your business from an outsider’s perspective. How clean are the facilities? When was the last time you did a deep cleaning that got into all the nooks and crannies?

The slower off season is a good time to do this type of cleaning. This is the time to check those things that may not be obvious to you, but will be to customers, like behind doors, along floorboards, the tops of ceilings fans, windows etc.

Also check to make sure your business is accessible for those with physical challenges. How is the traffic flow through your business? Could someone with a walker easily navigate?

Also take the time to review the signage to your business – will your customers be able to find you easily? Does your signage need a refresh? If they can’t find you, they can’t visit.

The Great Circle of Tourism Life

We’re a community of tourism operators, and when we support one another our region as a whole benefits. When a customer stays at an accommodation they will inevitably need to eat, shop, or take part in other tourism activities. It’s a symbiotic relationship – the great circle of tourism life.

Take the time to engage with your customers, and encourage your staff to do the same. No one knows your region better than you, so why not invite your customers to enjoy your region more fully by pointing out other experiences they may enjoy? Keep brochures from other businesses available to hand out to customers. Remember, a major tourism goal is to encourage our customers to stay longer – that’s a win for everyone.

Happy Wandering!

Julie Mulligan

OHTO’s Marketing Manager