The latest Visitor Expectations Monitor (VEM) found that 21 percent of visitors were unlikely to recommend New Zealand as a visitor destination.
Visitor word of mouth vital
As a small country isolated from most of its growth markets, with a comparatively limited marketing budget, statistics like this will impact future industry growth unless the industry puts in place a clear strategy to address this.
Satisfaction not enough
The NZ tourism industry still does not understand that visitor satisfaction is not enough. Research in other industries clearly shows that satisfied and even highly satisfied customers are unlikely to return or recommend to others.
If the Tourism industry is going to capitalise on the available opportunities from growth markets, exceeding visitors’ expectations across all experiences must be the goal. It is only then that powerful visitor recommendation will improve.
The game has changed
Visitor recommendation is today’s most powerful form of advertising. Social media and websites like trip adviser have changed how visitors make decisions both in choosing destinations and which products and services they will experience once at that destination.
The way forward
We believe the way forward is for the industry to commit “To developing a quality service 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 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 the industry’s marketing spend.
The expertise is available, the strategy has been developed and the infrastructure to work with individual organisations across the industry is already in place. All that is required now is a mind shift and a commitment from across the industry.
Chris Bell is the Managing Director of Customer Experiences, a company committed to building successful businesses through the development of high quality customer experiences and co-founder of cemNZ www.customerexperience.co.nz firstname.lastname@example.org www.customerexperiences.co.nz 027 2792360