As you will know, small acts of kindness often go a long way. You’ve also probably seen in our December newsletter (feel free to subscribe here), it is to my meaning that we need to focus on “humanizing” our customer service again. Here are a few ideas on how I think you could do exactly that this Festive Season:
Bless your guests
• Give guests’ children the opportunity to help you make breakfast for their parents on Christmas morning. This will not only help you create bonds with customers, but you will also help them build on their family bonds.
• Serve cool drinks on the veranda on Christmas eve and invite guests to join you for sun-downers before they head out.
• Prepare a few individual picnic spots around your venue for guests to enjoy a family picnic for Christmas.
• Bless your guests with a small Christmas gift on their bed. I say small, because it’s really the idea that counts. Something like a packet of Christmas cookies, a sock filled with some midnight snacks, bake a few Christmas themed cupcakes and put it in their rooms upon turndown.
Gingerbread Cupcakes for Christmas
(Image from: http://tidymom.net/2011/gingerbread-cupcakes/)
• Buy a few vouchers from businesses around the area, i.e. a puppet show at the Saturday market around the corner, an ice-cream shop, a coffee shop, the aquarium, a book store, the hop-on-hop-off bus, etc. and leave this in your guests’ room for when they arrive. Put a note with it that says something like: “Merry Christmas from us all! We’d like to bless you with a few tastes from our town. Enjoy!”
The above ideas are only but a few examples of what you can do. Be creative and see how your guests come back for more human-to-human customer service next year.
It’s Spring and we are starting to get ready for South Africa’s biggest tourist rush in December, we must also have our marketing strategies in place, prepare our staff for high season, ensure that our destinations are in tip-top shape and that we can handle whatever gets thrown our way.
Hospitality in Spring
I often wonder what different destinations do in order to “set the scene” regarding these things for high season. Obviously everyone has their own way of dealing with it, but surely some things work better than others.
Here are a few things I can recall that always psyched me up for high season:
- Involving staff in preparations for summer, year-end functions, Christmas and New Year.
- Quick, short training courses relevant to staff’s departments, encouraging them to go the extra mile and up-sell your products and services.
- Making staff feel they belong by organizing yearend celebrations for them as well. Combining these with some kind of acknowledgement ceremony is also a good idea.
- Having staff experience what the destination has to offer first-hand. This just gives them a view from the other side, which makes it easier for them to identify with customers’ wants and needs. It’s good to do this just before high season, as it will still be fresh in their memories.
For me Spring symbolizes new beginnings, growth and beauty. Why not find ways to implement this in your marketing and other destination strategies this month? Have staff come up with fresh, new ideas on how to improve customer service. Involve them in the process – they are the ones on the floor and notice things you might not even be aware of. This is one way of ensuring growth for your destination and its people.
Embrace this new season!