Tourism is an industry built on experiences.
It’s the business of creating memories – we want our travellers memories to be awesome, and awesome experiences create awesome memories.
To make those memories, more and more today’s travellers are wanting to discover unique places, have immersive, interactive experiences where they can learn something new, connect with locals and feel special!
But how do you create a visitor experience? The product itself is critical, but it includes so much more than that! There are 3 key elements:
- Product – they physical thing that you sell.
- Service – tourism is a service industry and personal customer interactions are key to a great experience
- Environment – the physical environment that you operate in, including the destination and the local community.
The experience is where the product, service and environment meet!
The experience is the memories and stories that the customer takes away with them.
Giving customers a ‘wow’ experience is great for your marketing, people want to tell their friends when they’ve have a great time which leads to positive social word of mouth.
So, how can you create a great experience for your customers & make sure they are telling great stories?
Understand your ideal customers.
Learn everything you can about them;
exact age, sex, income, marital status, where they live, employment, family status, values, beliefs, lifestyle, hobbies, interests – be specific, what books do they read what TV shows & movies do they watch and how do they watch it, what keeps them up at night, what problems do they need solved!
The more you know about them, the more we can tailor our experiences to meet their needs (& create a happy customers).
Consider all the touch points
Your visitors experience includes every single interaction that they have with your business including: website, phone calls, email, social media, review sites and product and service they experience when they are in your business.
- Is your product delivery and service consistent at all touch points?
- Are you as welcoming when you answer the phone as you are when you greet a customer in person?
- Is your branding consistent across your website, brochures, and product delivery (menus, signage, staff uniforms)?
- What does your product look like, is it fresh, clean, well maintained, does it feel welcoming?
Take some time to consider your product from the customers view point! Think about all the contact you have with your customers & how you could be more connected with them.
Showcase your destination
What makes your destination unique, what is the history of the region, who are the local characters, what do people talk about when they leave?
How can you more of that uniqueness in your experience? Can you;
- Utilise local produce on your menus & mini bars –it could be wine, olive, jams, beers or chocolate. Incorporate it and tell the story of it to your customers!
- Use of locally produced products like soap, art & crafts
- Share some local secrets – online or off. Make a things to do page on your website, create suggested itineraries or train your staff to get talking to customers and share some of their favourite things to do in the region(don’t forget the free stuff – parks, lookouts, picnic areas, beaches, local events or trivia at the pub)
Make it easy!
They say that ‘life wasn’t meant to be easy’ and these days, all the things that are meant to make it easy seem somehow to make it harder! Imagine if your customers experiences was super easy!
How can you create an easy experience? Through the eyes of your ideal customer, think about:
- What your booking process like? Can you be booked seamlessly online, is all the information that your customers need to make the decision to book available?
- How do you customers find you? What is the signage like for your business?
- How can you pre-empt your customer’s needs? Activities for kids, cold drinks on arrival after a long drive, pool towels or buckets and spades to take to the beach (‘cause most people won’t pack those for a trip to Wagga)
- How you can make it easy for them discover the area (and stay a little longer & send a little more)? Do you provide personal recommendations on where to visit next or suggested itineraries for their stay?
- How do you make it easy for them share the great experience that they’ve had with you on social media? Tell them your #hashtags and @handles, create mementos and spaces to capture that perfect selfie!
What about your business operations? Can you review your systems and processes and streamline activities to make workflows easier (and create more time to spend with guests!)
Listen, review and refine!
Great tourism businesses are continuously looking to improve!
Listen to your customers and their feedback – TripAdvisor is a great source of feedback (make sure your are responding and taking time to thank customers for their reviews), so are your social media channels, but you can’t beat the personal conversations you have with customers.
Take their feedback on board, what did they love, what else would they like to see?
Continue to refine the experience that you offer your visitors!
In today’s environment of ever more sophisticated consumers, those who deliver memorable customer experiences consistently create superior value and competitive advantage.
London Business School
Now’s the time to review your experience!
Take some time to review your experience through your customers eyes, be critical, how can you polish it, refine it and create and even better experience that is easy for your customer to find, book, experience and tell the world about.
Lots of amazing experiences in a destination give visitors lots of reasons to visit and stay a little longer.
When you’ve reviewed yours, why not start talking to some friends, what can you see about other products that they can’t, can you suggest some improvements to other operators to help them create a better experience – which is good for all businesses in Wagga!