Tourism experiences – we talk about them all the time, we all aim to offer a great experience for our guests, but what exactly makes a great experience?
And why is the experience so important for tourism businesses?
Tourism is an experience-based industry, the business of creating memories – and to create awesome memories, we need to deliver awesome experiences.
A tourism product is what you buy
the tangible things like accommodation, attractions and tours that visitors participate in or consume
A tourism experience is what you remember
the emotional feeling and memories created by purchasing, participation or consumption of tourism products
According to the London Business School
“In today’s environment of ever more sophisticated consumers, those who deliver memorable customer experiences consistently create superior value and competitive advantage.”
Basically, businesses offering amazing, interactive, experiences are winners!
But what exactly makes a great tourism experience? What does it look like?
The Experience is made up of 3 parts
- Product – the physical thing that you sell
- Service – how you make your customers feel
- Environment – where you operate, the DESTINATION
When you combine all 3, you have an experience.
So let’s look at what you can do to improve the experience that you offer:
Your product and how you present it – make up a major part of the experience.
- How your product looks – is it clean, comfortable, inviting, and welcoming? It’s important to consider this through your customers eyes, not your own. What does your customer see when they walk in the door for the first time?
- How it meets your customer’s needs – do you offer what your ideal customer is looking for?
- Is it FRESH!
Customer interactions and customer service is key to a great experience
Customer service is the new WOW factor – it is the way to breakthrough the clutter & differentiates you from competitors.
It is what many successful businesses pride them on.
How do you create great customer service in your business? Think about all touch points, how do you greet your customers, how do you welcome them, how do you interact with them, how do you want to make them feel?
- Be flexible and work with your customers
- Make them feel welcome – its a simple thing the do, look up from the counter when a customer walks in, acknowledge them, greet them, make them feel important!
- Pre-empt their needs – learn about your customers and provide them with what they need before they even have to ask.
A great example of this is a restaurant I visited recently.
I’d booked for 2 adults and 2 kids, they asked the age of the kids and when we arrived there was our table set with 2 kids activities packs – winning! The service was fabulous with the staff making my kids feel like the most important little people in the world and they got a special surprise at the end of the night. They knew exactly what a tired Mum & Dad needed – we were wowed! (I may have ordered an extra glass of wine, have been back and told all my friends)
Importantly service should be consistent across all of your customer touch points – phone, email, website, social media & of course face to face in your business.
Make the time to train your staff to deliver great customer service, be personal and surprise and delight your guests. It’s a simple thing that can make such a huge difference.
This includes the physical environment that you operate in, your community and region – or your DESTINATION
We should always be selling the destination first! Visitors generally don’t come for just one product, it’s the range of experiences that they can have that draws them to visit.
Products should be looking at ways to incorporate ‘the destination’ into their experiences.
Promoting the destinations uniqueness and making it easier for the consumer to experience it might just give them a reason to stay an extra day, visit another attraction or come back again!
How do you do it?
- Create experienced based itineraries to showcase things to do around a particular theme – food & wine, family fun, adventure
- Providing ‘local knowledge’ – people always want to hang where the locals do, let your customers in on a few of your favourite secret spots!
- Train your staff on local experiences – make sure they know what there is to do in the are
- Add a ‘things to do’ page on your website – it will make it easier for your customers to plan their trip & its good for your SEO!
- Sell local produce & products – wine, food, beer, handmade gifts, cookies or candles. Look to replace products with locally produced items where you can.
Get to know other local business and talk to them about ways that you can work together.
The experience is where the product, service and environment meet!
By combining these 3 things creating ‘experiences’, that meet your customers needs in a way that reflects your mission, vision and values – you are adding value to your customers and creating the opportunity to charge a premium price!
A café is a café is a café – there are so many choices these days to grab a coffee.
But a café where you are greeted when you walk in the door, service is efficient, friendly and engaging, local produce is on the menu and because staff have actually engaged with you they recommend a great walk, spot for lunch or a secret beach you might like to check out as you leave – that’s an experience!