Tourism is in an exciting and challenging growth faze that is seen to continue as Asian markets practically China expands.
The future success of NZ Tourism will be directly aligned with the consistency and quality of the experience delivered according to Chris Bell Managing Director of Customer Experiences a company that specialises in customer experience development.
We are 100 percent supportive of the recently launched National Tourism Plan and its strong focus on the development of the visitor experience.
Being a small, reasonably expensive long haul destination for many of our traditional and growth markets, markets that have plenty of choice, we must deliver more than just meeting visitors’ expectations.
A satisfied visitor is no longer the goal in a highly competitive environment. Its time to raise the bar to ensure tourism businesses capitalise on TNZs marketing investment, maximising powerful visitor recommendations, and increased spend.
Tourism New Zealand’s visitor experience statistics clearly show that we only met the expectations of 53% of international visitors in the last twelve months. The same visitor experience summary incorrectly states that “satisfied visitors recommend New Zealand to others”.
There is plenty of evidence that shows that satisfied customers don’t recommend to others
Right now Tourism has an opportunity and a choice. Continue to work with outdated strategies to improve performance in this area or look towards the future with certainty, adopting a proactive attitude, an effective visitor experience development strategy that will deliver higher visitor service levels and continually improving tailored visitor experiences.
Bell said it was clear from recent industry leaders comments that many businesses are having difficulty meeting visitors’ expectations especially visitors from our growth markets. Much of this difficultly stems from a lack of cultural understanding. One of the golden rules of business is to clearly understand your customers’ expectations. You have little chance of exceeded those expectations without that understanding.
The Way Forward
We believe the way forward is for Tourism to commit “To developing a quality experience that exceeds visitor’s expectations” To achieve this objective the skill focus will need to expand to include business leadership development that results in the creation of a more employee and visitor centric culture within individual businesses.
Front-line skill development will continue to be a vital part of this approach. However, the difference will be that skill development will be based around a defined visitor experience and measurable service standards and as a result will ensure a consistent quality performance.
The benefits of this approach will be reflected in both individual business development and performance resulting in greater visitor recommendation; repeat visits and a greater return on marketing spend.
In 2016 business must realise that in a world of excess, uniformity and repetition, visitors buy experiences, not products or services. When visitors feel good about their experiences, they will not only return but will tell their friends and many others via social media. Get it wrong and today many more will hear about it via those same social media channels.
Chris Bell is managing director of Customer Experiences, a company that specialises in helping businesses improve the way in which they interact with customers and clients. – email@example.com; www.customerexperiences.co.nz