8 Best Autumn Destinations

Autumn is a season of beautiful scenery, lovely weather (for the most part) and stunning photography. We’ve made a list of the top 8 autumn destinations across the globe, which are definitely worth a visit:

Autumn

Gruyere Cheese FactoryGruyère, Switzerland

Autumn is the ideal time for hiking in Switzerland, with all the summer crowds gone and the scenery changing hues. The Chemin du Gruyère is a 3-hour trail between a chocolate factory and the popular Gruyère cheese-making centre. Definitely something to put on your bucket list!

Wester Ross, Scotland

If you enjoy autumn for its delights of mushroom foraging, Wester Ross is the place to be! That and their smoked salmon and squat lobster will have you want to prolong your stay.

 

Paso Robles, California, USA

This is a lesser known wine region, almost the same distance from LA than from San Fransisco, with beautiful autumn views among rolling hills. You’ll find Petite Syrah around every corner – the perfect autumn experience further down the Californian Coast.

The Winelands, South AfricaAutumn Vineyards

The Cape Winelands turn into the most remarkable pallet of colours in autumn, inviting domestic and international visitors to enjoy this lovely season among thousands of hectares of vineyards. Tulbagh, Stellenbosch, Paarl and many other areas boast some of the most magnificent views – a must see for any traveller fond of fine weather and wine.

Snowdonia, Wales

Even though you might have to bring your raincoat, long, chilly walks in these mountains are something out of this world. The perks of these hikes come in the form of stunning views and post-hike pub experiences in front of open fires.

Snowdonia, Wales

 

The Cotswolds, England

Explore the picturesque Cotswold Way by foot in this lovely, yet cool and cloudy weather and treat yourself to some cream tea in some of England’s most beautiful, historic villages.

Underberg, South Africa

With its tree lined streets, Drakensberg views and oak trees leading the way to Himeville, the gateway to Sani Pass, this village is a must visit destination in South Africa.

Clarens, South Africa

Clarens is a small town in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, nicknamed the Jewel of the Eastern Freestate. Its poplar trees and sandstone cliffs boast the most beautiful autumn imagery, combined with lovely restaurants and art galleries.

 

Proactive customer care

Why anticipating what your guests would want means more than giving them what they ask…

Proactive customer care can be defined as communication making use of mixed channels that pre-emptively engages guests by providing information before the need arises for the guest to ask. The main goal of proactive customer care is to strengthen relationships, increase loyalty and reduce unnecessary enquiries, ensuring that your establishment delivers a satisfying customerservice. It further enables an establishment to measure guest satisfaction and enables the destination to immediately resolve issues before they expand.

Customer service providers in the hospitality and tourism industry should strive to create a positive first impression. For hospitality and tourism destinations it is important to successfully attract, engage and capture new customers by proactively reaching out to prospective guests. By addressing anticipated questions early in the customer life cycle you immediately start the relationship in a positive way, influencing customers’ future behaviour. Such proactive activities are invaluable to successfully build future relationships between guests and the brand.

Proactive Customer Service (Image from: 1to1media.com)

Proactive Customer Service (Image from: 1to1media.com)

Some examples of proactive customer care include:

  1. Timely reminders:

Increasing guest retention through timely reminders of upcoming events, bookings, and other important reservations.  With the busy schedules of modern day customers, reminders of their appointments are much appreciated. From a hotel, guesthouse or restaurant’s point of view, these reminders not only aid in building guest loyalty, but also reduce the rate of no-shows, cancellations and past-due payments.

  1. Proactive confirmations and notifications:

Increase guest satisfaction by delivering proactive confirmations through the guests’ preferred channels. Also use these channels to communicate important information to guests to improve relationships and decrease the potential for dissatisfaction (pain points within the customer’s journey).

  1. Reduce guest service costs:

Reduce the service costs associated with reaching, satisfying and retaining guests by creating a positive brand image for the hotel, guesthouse or restaurant that will do the selling for you. Influence your guests’ buying patterns by incorporating current trends, designing the perfect unique selling point. Observe what guests do and identify guest expectations from there.

  1. Enable guest interaction:

Enable guests to interact directly with your destination if confirmation details are incorrect, a change to a booking is required or any other queries need attention. Think creatively – initiate new proactive services that set you apart from your competitors.

  1. Opt-in or choose yourself:

Providing prospective and current customers with reliable and relevant communication subscription options, through preferred channels, gives the destination the chance to win over customers at their own choosing. Identify how your customers want to be contacted – through email, direct calls, social media, or SMS – and also at what time and day they’re most receptive.

If you still wonder why proactive customer care is such a big deal, surveys have shown that it means customer loyalty, because customers repay anticipatory service with more loyalty which translates into long term value. The main goal of proactive customer care is to surprise and entice customers with convenient and useful information at the moment that they are most receptive.

Destinations need to think out of the box

Highlight what makes you unique and tap into travellers’ expectations.

We recently wrote about business travellers and the growing trend of them looking for destinations that are unconventional and adventurous. Yes, the standard hotel room is still number one on the list for business travellers, but this is mainly because they know they will get what they expect. Hotel groups normally also make this easier, as they have a standard room types, which provide guests with exactly the same whether it is in South Africa or London.

With the bleisure travel trend becoming more and more popular, the demand for more adventurous and unique accommodation options will also increase. This means that destinations will need to start thinking out of the box and tap into travellers’ expectations, which is ever changing and could be quite challenging, yet very exciting!

Out of the box thinking. (Image from: writerswin.com)

Out of the box thinking. (Image from: writerswin.com)

This does not only apply to business travellers, but also leisure travellers. Destinations need to figure out what makes them unique and use that as a selling point. Unique selling points is what gives destinations their competitive advantage. What is yours?

How to identify your unique selling point:

If you are uncertain about what makes your destination stand out from the rest or if you are looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my destination offer something different to the destinations in the area?
  • Can we incorporate educational tourism or voluntourism or something similar in our destination?
  • Does my destination cater for a niche group of travellers, i.e. business travellers, travellers with kids, adventure travellers, etc.?
  • Is there a way to incorporate certain activities for travellers at our destination, i.e. yoga classes, meeting rooms, conference facilities, water sports, expeditions, etc.?

These can be guidelines to see where your destination is able to create its own unique selling points, eventually letting the destination evolve and stand out from the rest.

Tools and Trends to use to your advantage:

Keeping up with current tools and trends in the travel industry will guide you to successfully identify certain areas in which your destination is able to exceed guests’ expectations. Examples of these include:

  • Travel apps and the use thereof
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Knowledge on the different types of tourists and their needs and expectations
  • Creative and inventive thinking (thinking out of the box) from employees
  • Customer feedback (always very valuable)
  • Customer Journey Evaluations (done by Travelling Mystery Guest and helps to identify gaps in the customer journey that need to be attended to)
  • Customer Journey Mapping workshops (teaches HODs and staff how departments interlink with each other to create the ultimate customer experience and shows touch points where the destination has an opportunity to WOW the guest. Contact Travelling Mystery Guest for more information and bookings.)
  • Knowledge about Millennials and their travel trends and expectations
  • Seasonality trends
  • Mobile and other technology that can improve the guest’s experience
  • Cultural, sport or leisure events and wellness holiday trends
  • Long family holiday trends
  • Older travellers tend to travel further and longer and look for more adventure
  • Younger travellers drive the trend for activity or sporting holidays

These are only a few of the things you could consider when you want to set your destination apart from the rest and be the best. Find your unique selling points and use it to your advantage. Think out of the box.

Travelling off the grid – Why a digital detox is necessary

Written by: Esrida Brits

Open your mind, pack lightly and leave the phone at home.

We should all look at our friends and family and earnestly ask – “When was the last time you switched off?” When was the last time that you refrained from using any electronic connecting device for 24 hours? If the answer is “I cannot remember,” a digital detox should be on the cards for them. The world looks a lot better when it is not through a screen!

Digital Detox

Digital Detox

As cell phone towers continue to pop-up, and Wi-Fi spots become commonplace, escaping the digital world becomes harder and harder, even impossible, and ever more exclusive. It is becoming an expression of privilege and of wealth; unattainable for the mere mortal traveller.  This perception is a shame, as off-the-grid travelling is the only way you can still experience the original intended thrill of adventure. The sense of excitement and strangeness; of being in a different, new place. The feeling that travellers once took for granted. Cutting the digital umbilical cord in the form of a digital detox is the first step towards adventure – escaping from the familiar.

A digital detox can be defined as down-time, time spent away from any technological devices like smartphones or computers, and is widely regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress, increase focus and develop social interaction in the physical world. If we don’t allow ourselves the chance to reboot and recharge, we cannot be surprised if we burn out, become inefficient or lose our creative edge. In short, a digital detox is exactly what we need to stay productive and balanced in our wired world.

60% of all travellers confessed that traditional tourism holidays do not leave them rested and relaxed. Luckily, more and more destinations are realising the need for this “digital break-away” and are striving to provide guests with exactly that. Some destinations even have, as part of their rules, a strict “no device” policy where all guests must switch off their mobiles, smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers for the duration of their stay. These destinations use their “digital zero” rule as their defining factor, something that provides a unique selling point that sets them apart from the rest. They attract like-minded travellers who not only want to experience the destination’s uniqueness, the people’s culture and the feel of freedom, but who also want to re-summons focus and clarity into their lives.

These destinations are creating and planning enjoyable activities that guests can engage in during their digitally switched off time. Activities can range from cooking demonstrations and classes to outdoor activities such as hiking or swimming. The lack of constant distraction from a screen tends to allow guests to immerse themselves in the activity, leading to more enjoyment and richer memories to look back on. The disconnectedness also tends to free people’s minds, permitting them to think about the important things in life and can even encourage them to make big changes to relationships, careers, health and fitness.

So what are you waiting for? Switch off. Go and do something amazing – off the grid.

Workshop & Discussion: Get to know your customers

There is a reason why destinations often struggle to provide the best possible customer service to their guests and it’s because we don’t always know our customers.

Today’s customers are much more informed than a few years ago. We would like to take a look at a few topics which will assist destinations in getting to know their customers better.

Here are the topics we’d like to discuss:

  • Types of tourists
  • Types of customers
  • Being a tourist and a customer
  • What tourists and customers expect
  • The customer journey affects a customer personally
  • Teach employees to know customers better
  • How to collect customers’ data without disturbing them

Would you be interested in joining us for this workshop? Let us know!

Contact us on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za

Get psyched for tourism’s high season

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

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!

Tell your story

People have been fond of stories for centuries. They can identify with it. Stories have been told over the years in order to explain, educate and entertain. Back then, people and children could sit and listen to the stories that were told. Today stories need to include visual content in order to draw attention.

Storytelling

Storytelling

Isn’t this ideal for a guesthouse, hotel or restaurant? Many of these destinations have some kind of history to share, a great view, some unique dishes or a reputation for the best service in town. Why not share this story with the public in the form of stories and images? It is such a great tool for content creation and really not difficult.

Ways to do it:

  • Create a story book for kids that tells the story of your destination and what the readers will be able to see here.
  • Share tidbits of your story on social media with photos of way back when…
  • Create videos of the happenings at your destination.
  • Teach your staff about your story and encourage them to share it with guests.
  • Have annual concerts or performances at your destination and tell your story through plays and music.

These are but a few of the millions of creative ideas you can use to tell your story. An exciting exercise for anyone who likes to explore new, creative opportunities.

Need some assistance on how to kick off your storytelling campaign? Contact Travelling Mystery Guest on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.