Wine and Food Conference to show how to grow Loyalty and Revenue for Cape Tourism

 

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127,9 billion, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP.

Margi Biggs

Commenting on the WTTC findings presented in its recent 2017 Economic Impact Report, Margi Biggs, convenor of the upcoming The Business of Food and Wine Tourism Conference, set to take place in Stellenbosch in the spring, said:

“The good news is that the council has projected the sector’s contribution to domestic GDP will rise by 2,7% in 2017, a very welcome increase given the subdued state of our local economy.”

A seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Biggs contends that travel and tourism can contribute still further to the national GDP, “provided we, as an industry, take note of new trends in consumer spending, behaviour and priorities to make our food and tourism offerings more compelling and more competitive, while upping the standard of our execution and service delivery.”

“If we get it right, the impact will be substantial.  It will help to build skills, create economic opportunities and reduce unemployment, generating greater prosperity for more South Africans.  We have all the right ingredients: beautiful locations, a growing reputation for world-class food and wines, and friendly and welcoming hospitality staff.  We just have to finesse what we are doing with the technology and research we now have at our disposal, while applying new thinking to marketing and problem-solving.”

 

She said the annual conference, now in its second year, would be presented by a selection of international and local tourism specialists and would focus on best practice and how to improve the customer experience. An important feature of the forum would be the various ways in which wine and food impact customer loyalty.

“There is a growing view internationally that customer experience will ultimately drive more loyalty than complicated point-based programmes and schemes. We need to take note.”

Amongst this year’s keynote speakers is CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona. His address will explore how the food and wine experience can promote South Africa’s competitive advantage as a tourist destination. Included in the line-up of international speakers are Don Shindle, an expert in customer service and GM of the Westin Verasa Napa in California’s renowned wine tourism epicenter. World-renowned TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female master sommeliers in the world will also be there. Dr Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US will be looking specifically at the impact on loyalty of cellar door visits. The programme will also cover such topics as virtual reality, attracting new markets, and PR trouble shooting.

The conference takes place at Spier on Wednesday, 20 September.

For more information on the conference, or to register online, visit www.wineandfood.co.za.

Early Bird registration is now open at a fee of R2 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate, and ends on 12 June. The standard cost per delegate is R3 950 (excl. VAT), and ends on 18 August.  If you register and pay after 18 August, the cost rises to R4 500 (excl. VAT) per person.

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CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING WORKSHOP – Back by popular demand

We all dread it when customers confront us about a bad experience. Whether it is a mistake from our side or due to unforeseen circumstances, an unhappy customer is a customer we don’t want.
Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshop, Customer Journey Mapping, is back by popular demand and the company will be hosting another three of these workshops at different venues in South Africa before the end of the year. The first will take place in Pretoria on 2 September 2015 at the CSIR, just off the N1. On 21 October 2015 the workshop will be held in Johannesburg at Eagle’s View Guesthouse, followed by a visit in Bloemfontein at De Oude Kraal on 4 November 2015. Bookings can be made by contacting Renate de Villiers on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

More about the workshop:
The workshop focuses on teaching delegates to create a map of the customer’s experience through their company, whether it is a restaurant, hotel or other service provider. Mapping out the customer’s journey assists line staff and managers to understand the customer’s way of thinking, eventually teaching employees to think like the customer. This leads to staff being able to think further than the here and now and encourages them to go the extra mile. It decreases customer frustrations, motivates staff and creates innovation within the workplace, because employees need to think out of the box in order to get into their customer’s shoes.

The Customer Journey Mapping Workshop helps employees to think like a customer. It helps them to understand why customers often react in certain ways and provides employees with a tool to prevent certain gaps within the customer’s experience. It might also even instigate a few new ideas and standard operating procedures within the customer’s journey that could improve the customer’s experience.
Get to know your customers on a whole new level by attending this exciting workshop. For bookings and more information, contact Renate de Villiers on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.
IMPORTANT: These workshops can take a maximum of 15 delegates and therefore companies and individuals are urged to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Follow Travelling Mystery Guest on Facebook (facebook.com/TravellingMysteryGuest) and Twitter (@TravellingMG) to stay up to date with their latest workshops and travels.

Upselling: A useful tool in the hospitality industry

Upselling, also known as suggestive selling, is an ideal tool in the hospitality industry, as it not only gives staff the opportunity to create larger sales, but it can also be used to create greater customer satisfaction.

 
Yes, many times, the word “upselling” can leave a bitter taste in your mouth due to sales people nagging and nagging you to buy certain products. I believe that those sales people just haven’t had the right training – especially when it comes to the hospitality and tourism industry. In our industry, it’s all about the customer experience and customers definitely don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches. Still, they do expect staff to tell them a little more about services offered, the current specials or things that they might be interested in.

 
Upselling, when used correctly, gives you the opportunity to get closer to your customer. To get to know them better.

 
Interestingly enough, we tend to use the word upselling incorrectly sometimes. Let me explain:

 
If a guest buys a room for R1200 per night and the reservationist offers the guest a better room with a view and an en suite bathroom at R1500 per night, that’s upselling. Cross-selling, on the other hand, is when you sell products that are different, but related, to the product that has already been bought. An example: If I buy a room at R1200 per night, the reservationist offers me the option of adding a spa treatment at the spa next door at R600. With upselling, the price of the product being bought is increased. With cross-selling extra items are added to the original product to increase the sale.

 
Keep in mind that it’s not a race, but rather a route to follow to help the customer get more value from your business, eventually creating more loyal customers who are sure to return time and again.

 
Groovehq.com mentions a few reasons why upselling and cross-selling are so positive:
1. When done right, it builds deeper relationships with customers.
2. It’s easier than selling to new customers and helps you grow.
3. Upselling increases customer lifetime value.

 
Teach your employees how to use upselling and cross-selling effectively by attending Travelling Mystery Guest’s upcoming workshop on this topic on 4 July 2015 (combined with 3 July 2015 workshop on communication) or 8 July 2015. For more information, contact Renate on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

What is a Restaurant Wheel?

After doing some research on the customer journey, I came across the hotel wheel a few months ago. From there I realized that any company has a wheel which indicates the customer’s journey from the first interaction right through to the follow ups and customers returning. Therefore, a restaurant should also have a wheel that indicates the customer’s journey.

Here is the restaurant wheel as Travelling Mystery Guest sees it:

Restaurant Wheel by TMG

Restaurant Wheel by TMG

  1. Internet researchCustomers choose restaurants on recommendation from friends on Facebook or Twitter, from websites like EatOut, Food24 and so forth and make final decisions from other platforms like TripAdvisor, Hello Peter and reviews on the restaurant’s pages like Facebook and Google+.
  2. Booking – From there the booking is made, and here the customer makes his / her first acquaintance with the restaurant. This means that even the person on telephone duty has a huge responsibility regarding customer experience.
  3. Directions – A part of the customer journey that is often neglected. Customers expect to find proper directions to the destination. This means that restaurants need to provide the destination’s address on all of their internet pages, and even better, be on Google Places / Google Maps in order for customers to find the destination without any trouble.
  4. Arrival Customers expect to be welcomed and that, especially when they have booked, the restaurant is prepared for their arrival.
  5. The visit – This section can be discussed in a whole lot of detail (consider joining Travelling Mystery Guest for an in depth workshop on the Restaurant Wheel). This is where waiters and the restaurant really need to impress, as it is now not only about the communication, but also about the taste, the atmosphere, the timing, the staff’s knowledge, the restaurant’s image and the overall customer experience.
  6. Departure – Many restaurants tend to neglect this part of the wheel, even though it is still important. Customers want to be invited back and they want the opportunity to say something about their If restaurants don’t ask, they probably wouldn’t know if guests had enjoyed the experience or not.
  7. Follow up – Not many restaurants do this, as they don’t always have the customers’ contact details (except if the customer has made a booking). Still, follow-ups are very important, even if it is done universally via social media. This also gives you the opportunity to learn more about current trends and expectations among your fans.

To book a Travelling Mystery Guest workshop on the Restaurant Wheel, contact Renate: enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562.

What makes one guest different from the other?

Being in the hospitality and tourism industry one meets hundreds of different guests – not one being the same. I sometimes wonder what makes them different, yet choose the same home away from home.

Even though choosing the same hotel or guesthouse to stay at, not one guest has the same expectations or interests. Some of it may be the same, but I’ve never met any guest who had the exact same “customer DNA” than another.

Here are a few things that differentiate one guest from the next. Keep it in mind for when your next guest arrives and see if you can understand them better when you know a little more about where they come from…

Culture

In South Africa alone we have more than 11 different local languages and even more different cultures. With such a rainbow nation, it is only natural to have different kinds of guests and that is just domestic! When we look at guests from foreign countries the gap becomes even bigger. Understanding foreign languages, cultural habits and lifestyles become a challenge in many ways, but also food to a true lover of hospitality and tourism.

Levels of Education

Whether we want to know it or not, the level of education plays a very important role in a guest’s manner of dealing with certain situations. Professionalism, understanding, knowledge and communication skills are but a few characteristics that will differentiate a man with a degree from a man who has never finished high school. There are exceptions to the rule and therefore it might be better to rather refer to experience than education. Someone with more experience will evidently be more professional, understand better, know more and communicate better.

Age

Experience also comes with age. Therefore an older person will have better communication skills than a youngster. They will obviously also have different expectations and needs and therefore it is important to be able to cater for both guest types.

Sex

Men and women have been said to come from Mars and Venus respectively, so why would we treat them as if they have the same needs and expectations? Women enjoy the finer things in life while men are mostly happy with a braai and a beer. Once again there are exceptions to the rule.

Different personalities

This can be related to many things – where they grew up, who their friends are, genes, culture and more. This just means to say, once again, that not one guest is the same.

Interests

People have different interests. Some enjoy arts and culture (which is one of the top reasons for travel in 2014 according to a survey done by American Express Travel). Others like nature and sports or even history. Getting to know what your guest’s interests are might make understanding them a little easier.

Responsibilities

A parent will be a different kind of guest in comparison to a student for example. Parents are much more careful and considerate, while students can sometimes act impulsively and appear to be a little more selfish (in a good way…or bad).

Life stories

Everyone has a story. Your hotel or guesthouse too. Some people like sharing them, others don’t. Some people are happy with their stories, others not so much. Some have just gotten married, others just lost a loved one. Knowing these things about your guest might help you to give them the best customer experience they’ve ever had.

Share in your guest's stories

Share in your guest’s stories

I once read somewhere about a business traveler who carried a photo of his daughter with him everywhere he went. He stayed at one hotel quite often and left the photo on his bed side table during his stay. One evening when he returned from work the photo had been framed and put next to his bed. The cleaner thought it well. On departure he asked the receptionist who had framed his photograph and she explained that the cleaner had noticed him carrying the photo with him everywhere he went and that she wanted to help him protect it. He then told the receptionist that the girl in the picture was his daughter who recently passed away.

Get to know your guests. Share in their stories. Make them feel at home.