In an effort to share as much as possible about internet marketing, I’ve moved away from the focus of this blog a bit, rural tourism.
For some parts of the world, the primary rural tourism season is coming to an end, and for other parts it is just beginning. Transition times are always a good time to review and re-commit to better practices.
This is a reminder that the major attraction you have in your small town or rural tourism destination is your people.
No review site trumps the personal recommendation of a flesh and blood local.
No smartphone can recommend the most scenic and interesting route to your most famous attraction, or a little known fishing hole.
We must be tech savvy to compete in this world of instant information and digital relationships.
But we must also remember that regardless of whether they bring their gadgets and insist on having high-speed access to them, our visitors, our guests come for the human interaction that is part of our lifestyle in rural communities and small towns.
Here’s the vital task facing every rural business owner.
Can your employees answer a few simple questions about your town and region?
Here are the top five. Think about a few more that are specific to your area. (In my area of northern California one of those is, “how tall is Mount Shasta?”)
1. Where is a good place to stay?
Use your Chamber of Commerce to get to know a little about the lodging in and around your town. People ask this in gas stations, restaurants, hardware stores, anywhere there is a smiling face behind a counter. Be ready to answer, or they might drive to the next town.
2. Where is a good place to eat?
It’s okay to recommend your own favorite. In fact, that’s the best. Visitors love to eat where the locals eat.
3. What is there to do around here?
School your youngest employees on the answer to this one. They are trying to leave and will probably answer “nothing” without some input.
4. How to I get to_________?
Have an old fashioned paper map behind the counter to help people find their way to surrounding communities. And make sure your frontline people know how best to get to your local attractions.
5. Where is a public restroom?
This is a biggie in rural communities. Lots of restaurants have a “customers only” policy. Know the closest public restroom, or, slick yours up and be ready to say, “I’d be happy to have you use ours.”
Suggest that your Chamber post answers to the most vital and relevant questions on their website. It will help visitors, and more importantly, it will help your employees keep current.
Here are a few past posts to help you brush up on customer service improvement efforts: