PR for your town

I’ve recently read an article on the importance of PR for the city of Johannesburg, which made me think: it is not only Johannesburg that needs more PR. It’s every town and every city that we love here in South Africa. Cape Town might be the Mother City of South Africa, but mainly because of its spectacular natural wonder: Table Mountain. We need to find the reasons why other cities and towns in South Africa are PR worthy and tell it to the world!

Table Mountain - Photo taken by Renate de Villiers

Table Mountain – Photo taken by Renate de Villiers

Johannesburg, for one, like mentioned in the article written by Brand Slut, has many different things to offer and its diverse cultures and its history should be just as big an attraction as Cape Town’s attractions when communicated to the world.

Smaller towns like Matjiesfontein, Parys in the Free State, Clarens, Henley on Klip, Haenertsburg, Paternoster – why are they not on every traveller’s list even though everyone who has been there loves it? Because they lack PR!

Matjiesfontein is one of my favourite towns in South Africa. More like a village, actually, consisting of a gravel main road that separates the train station from the Lord Milner Hotel and the rest of the town. It is in this town that you will find the house where the first South African telephone rang – or so the tour guide told us. So much history and stories lie hidden in this town, yet no one knows of it.

Matjiesfontein - My favourite South African town

Matjiesfontein – My favourite South African town

Clarens has become very popular over the years, offering great outdoor activities in and between the Drakensberg. It also allows the not so active to enjoy arts and crafts, which is becoming a very popular reason for travel worldwide according to research from American Express Travel.

Still, I can go on and on about the awesomeness of all these places, but if its inhabitants don’t share their love and appreciation of the place with the world, no one will know and no one will visit. Let’s get up and do some PR, people!

For bookings on workshops relating to the basics of PR and Marketing for tourism and hospitality destinations, contact Travelling Mystery Guest on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562.

PS – thanks for the great eye-opener, Brand Slut. Let’s start with Jo’burg.

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What German hotels do differently

I’ve recently returned from a tour through Europe – mainly Germany. We stayed in some very fashionable hotels, in small town guesthouses and even in hostels. As a lover of all things hospitality and tourism I couldn’t help but compare their service to that of our own here in South Africa. You’ll be surprised with the following findings:

Breakfast in Berlin, Germany

Breakfast in Berlin, Germany

Very high high-five for SA hospitality

For one, I feel that South Africa’s friendliness in the hospitality industry earned a jump-in-the-air-high-five! It might be that the two cultures’ personalities clash a little, but be that what it is, we get much more smiles from South African receptionists than those in Germany. So, I salute you, SA hospitality peeps.

Make your own bed

One thing that blew my mind was the fact that most establishments, be it a hotel or a hostel, made the beds a little differently than we do. When you walk into the room you will find the duvet cover folded neatly in half and placed on the bed. The pillow cases are all double sized with the unfilled part folded in neatly under the pillow. I suppose they want to really show you that the bedding has been washed.

Coffee (not) in the room

Some hotels offered coffee in the rooms (for the first day). Others encouraged you to use the kitchenette downstairs, but the receptionists tend to watch you like a hawk. Where we get Cremora in most rooms, they provide guests with pourable creamer. Super delicious (and super fattening, I suppose). I’d recommend the small milk containers like those from Parmalat, though. The hostels are another story – most of them provide guests with coffee and tea on the house (as long as you wash your cup). J I must say, I was very impressed with Germany’s hostels. Clean and neat – even the kitchens.

Map on arrival

Most establishments provided us with a map on arrival, circling the exact spot of the hotel to indicate where we are. Some even went as far as to circle some of the most popular attractions, assisting us to identify the things we’d like to see the next day. In Prague (yes, I know it’s not Germany, but it impressed me THAT much!) we got a map that indicated different kinds of attractions – the romantic kinds (indicated with a heart), the historical kinds, the arty kinds, and more. Such a nice gesture showing that they cater for any type of tourist.

That’s why I love travelling – you get some tips from others, but also see what they can learn from you. Keep smiling, South Africa! It’s good to be known for friendliness – that’s one thing that makes people feel welcome and the number one requirement for hospitality.

What to look forward to this month

In essence, I’d say there is a lot to look forward to in addition to Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshops… like thunder storms in Jozi, Valentine’s Day, weekend camping (without the thunder storms) and much more. Still, Travelling Mystery Guest also has a lot for you to look forward to, including very exciting workshops on the following topics:

Workshops

Workshops (Picture from Google Images)

And THAT’s why the customer is in charge!

We sometimes tend to think we can sit back and let South Africa do its own marketing with it having won nature’s lottery and all. Unfortunately, with customers becoming more and more educated due to more engagement and involvement via social media, we cannot expect business to fall on our laps. We need to engage with, listen to and learn from our customers. They have the ball in their hands and we need to work on a strategy to ensure that we catch the ball every time. Yes, the customer is in charge. We just need to learn to manage it.

Exceed your customer’s expectations without too much effort

With time mostly not being on our side and the economy being on the down side, it is difficult to see how we can exceed our customers’ expectations without some effort. Travelling Mystery Guest gives hospitality and tourism professionals a few tips on how to identify certain ways in which you can keep customers happy. We need to fall back to the most basic of basics: humanity. We need to remind ourselves that a customer is also just a normal human being and with a little bit of understanding we can keep customers happier than happy. Talk to them like you understand, listen to them like you want to understand and walk towards them as if you are the only one who can help them.

I look forward to all of the above, as well as what you have to say about Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshops. I look forward to experiencing true South African hospitality this month and gaining more insight on customer service and exceeding expectations.

Book your on-site workshop now by contacting Travelling Mystery Guest on 079 110 5674 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za. Follow TMG on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and stay up to date with the latest happenings.

WORKSHOPS FOR THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY IN 2014

Exceed your customer’s expectations

28 December 2013. Johannesburg. The New Year is upon us and every tourism and hospitality establishment has its own plans for 2014. Whether you are planning on increasing sales or offering more products to your guests, it all comes down to one thing: Customer Service.

Travelling Mystery Guest, a hospitality and tourism consultancy company offering workshops, customer journey evaluations and PR opportunities, will be kicking off the New Year with exciting workshops focusing on South African hospitality, customer service and social media within the travel industry. Guesthouses, B&B’s, lodges, hotel groups, restaurants and even self catering facilities will be able to learn more about the importance of linking social media with customer service and the changes in the average traveller’s purchasing habits.

Workshops will be presented by the company’s founder, Renate de Villiers, and January’s venue is none other than the lovely Africlassic River Lodge in Rivonia. A special thanks to Jan and Magdel van Sandwyk, sponsors of the venue in return for workshop attendance and a customer journey evaluation.

January Workshops

January Workshops

Workshops for January and February:

Johannesburg:

23 January 2014                And THAT’s why the customer is in charge!

30 January 2014                Exceeding your customer’s expectations without too much effort

6 February 2014                Creating and sharing compelling content

7 February 2014                “Face” the “book” of social marketing

13 February 2014              “Tweet” your heart out!

14 February 2014              Google+ and LinkedIn for your small business

Pretoria:

20 February 2014              Creating and sharing compelling content

21 February 2014              “Face” the “book” of social marketing

27 February 2014              “Tweet” your heart out!

28 February 2014              Google+ and LinkedIn for your small business

Travelling Mystery Guest is looking for a venue in Pretoria that might be interested in a trade exchange. For more information, please contact us!

For bookings and more information, contact Renate de Villiers on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za or 079 110 5674. Workshop topics and content information will also be readily available on the TMG blog. ▪▪

Travelling Mystery Guest

Travelling Mystery Guest

Travelling Mystery Guest

So, at last TMG has been registered and we can now start assisting South African tourism and hospitality establishment in “walking the talk”!

What do I mean by that? Well, TMG will be visiting your establishment (if you want us to, off course) and we will provide you with customized feedback on your website’s accessability and user friendliness, as well as your establishment, your quality of customer service and the experience. We will also be commenting and consulting on your brand promise and what you actually provide, which is where “walking the talk” comes in.

For more info or bookings, contact us on:

Twitter: @TravellingMG

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TravellingMysteryGuest

Email: travellingmysteryguest@gmail.com

Cell phone: 079 110 5674