I’ve had a few notices come to my Linkedin box lately from organizations seeking a HERITAGE PRESENTATION SPECIALIST. A decade ago I wouldn’t have batted an eye – but today, it causes me to stop and reflect.
Times have changed. Do we want to ‘present’ to our visitors our culture, history or heritage? Or do we want to engage them, tap the senses, ignite their curiosity? The increased attention to the emerging field of customer experience management, akak visitor experience management in tourism, requires we stop and think about the meaning of words. The impact they have on perceptions, and infact how we look at the contributions of our staff.
Visitor Engagement Specialist would be so much better!
When we teach about the options a business has to enhance their visitors’ experience we know it can happen by investing in, or modifying the infrastructure (high overhead cost), activity, or the people and programs that provide choice and varying degrees of engagement for visitors to connect to people and place. The CN Tower’s Edge Walk (Toronto) and the Vegas Stratopshere’s Sky Jump are two of my favorite examples where laying on a new thrill experience – by investing in infrastructure (the physical) and super well trained staff (emotional) make up a unique visitor experience and draw for a niche market without taking away from their mass market operations. By adding an option for THRILL SEEKERS who are willing to pay $175 for a 30 minute walk (1.5 hour activity ) at the Edge Walk and $110 for a 30 second fall (20 min activity) off the Stratosphere Hotel – they not only capture the crazy wild folks – but people like me who love to watch and pay to go up the tower and watch family members engage in daring things I’m to chicken to try!
Today, I received a link from a friend regarding the GRIFFON Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia where you challenge yourself to the 205-foot, 90-degree, 75 mph free fall. Costing $80 to take one ride, and $60 to be an ‘insider viewer’ of the 30 people per group who team up together to have a thrill of a lifetime – they are introducing choice.
A visual grid we use at the Tourism Cafe to help businesses determine where to focus their next investment
What I love about all three of these examples is when you apply them to the grid we use created to help businesses choose where to focus their energy and investment in a new visitor experience you have four options that appeal to existing travellers or new guests (x axis) with current products or new offers (y axis). The bottom left is ‘status quo’ and sadly, too many business stay there and pray for guests to arrive in a highly competitive market. The top left is taking your existing guests and offering them more. The bottom right is to create a visitor experience that takes your existing investment and adapts it to attract new guests – and the top right is a brand new experience for a new type of visitor.
Think Abouts for the Day:
(1) Where do you think the CN Tower, the Stratosphere, and Busch Gardens would place these rides? Why?
(2) What are you doing differently THIS YEAR to increase your appeal to visitors, attract returning guests and create awesome memories – so good that they post them to the Internet and help you market your product,