Greetings from the Chair!
As you prepare to welcome visitors to your tourism business this summer, I want to introduce you to a wonderful idea that can make this the best season you’ve ever had: tapping into your customers’ emotions. While it might sound a little bit funny, almost like an episode of Dr. Phil, it’s actually one of the most effective things you can do this season to make your business memorable to your guests, to inspire them to share stories about your brand, and to make sure that they come back next year.
Over the past few months, the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) has devoted much time to thinking outside the box about tourism, and putting together a new Tourism Starts With You: Making Shift happen guide that outlines a new regional strategy for making our rural region competitive within the larger tourism landscape. A guest-centric focus is at the heart of this strategy, and calls for all of us to leverage not just our incredible product, but our incredible stories and hospitality, to draw visitors here and make them feel like they are part of the family.
Maybe this means that you chat with your guests, getting to know where they come from and who they are, in order to best service them while they explore your destination. It might mean that you step out from behind the counter of your bakery for a friendly flour-covered handshake, or that you share a spirited high-five after a successful river rafting adventure. If you’re an accomoadator, it might mean that you help a guest with a flat tire, or draw them a funny little map to their next location, sharing a story of your own favourites there. No matter what your business offers, specializing in personal connections can go a long way to forming bonds with your visitors and etching your businesses into their memories.
To find out more about the OHTO’s regional strategy and how to place the visitor at the heart of your activities, visit tourismstartswithyou.ca and download the free membership guide.
Wishing you a happy tourism season!
Classic Theatre Festival