Updated: Feb 7, 2022
Our concentration is on helping organizations in the tourism sector.
This blog will go through ASTC’s 4 phases that encapsulates the tourism experience,
Tourists to Stakeholders.
Any organization (private or public) can use these principles.
This phase more often than not begins on the internet.
ASTC recommends getting a website. It’s the best value you can have. You can build them with wix and other platforms for little costs. Find a Consulting organization to build you one. Get a reduced rate by allowing the builder to advertise themselves at the footer of each page, thus creating more focus and drive on their end.
Going the FB route is a minimalist approach. ASTC predicts more organizations will continue to shy away from this medium over the next 20 year. Whatever platform you take, you must exhaust all of its resources.
What is Critical with your website?
2. Tell your market about your model.
3. Have robust bios of your staff to help create an early connection.
5. Let your clients know of other ways to support or meet you. For example, have a calendar for when you will be out in the field.
6. Walk the site weekly with a flashlight. A dead link is a yellow flag that your organization is working at unsatisfactory levels in all departments.
7. Navigation. The viewer must find what they are looking for within 30 seconds.
Phone communication has become incredibly flexible due to cell phones. However, there are work life balance questions for you to consider.
What is Critical?
Be kind, courteous, and create a conversation on the phone. You’re not selling a loaf of bread, you are potentially selling an experience of a lifetime.
The experience really begins when the tourist discovers that you are motivated to serve them. If your organization has wording like “call us anytime,” then you must deliver, or your model starts to erode. An online booking system, a questionnaire form, or a well made pre-recording will help you start off on the right foot if you decide not to make time to answer your organization’s number 7 days a week.
The heart of tourism is hospitality. When a client stops by a nation wide car parts store in their community they have spent close to zero dollars and very little time preparing for the commute when they walk through the door. The expectations are low for customer service.
However, when a tourist travels from the other side of the world and they reach their first destination the expectations are high. Sometimes very high. They have spent days planning the trip, and maybe even days to arrive.
What is Critical?
1. Assume that everyone you meet is a weary traveler who needs a warm smile with a sincere greeting, and directions to the restroom. Basically, treat them like family.
2. Have appropriate staff for the first impressions. Always assume that the further the tourists travels, the higher their expectations will be.
First impressions last a long time. Also, people are more likely to communicate to the world a bad first impression. Bad reviews can circle the globe 3 times before the sun sets.
ASTC has a saying. “Never turn away someone who cares.” If your organization can’t take 1 step backward to onboard a volunteer or a potential client that will produce 1 step forward, then your organizational model is suboptimal at best.
If you turn down someone who cares, you may lose them forever.
If your potential client would like an appointment, make it so. Getting lazy and telling them your lobby hours over the phone forces them to restart the onboarding process all over again. Create an appointment with you or the best person who can serve them.
You may need to outsource some responsiblities to Travel Speacilists who can further bring down travel constraints. See our ever growing list.
You may also need to collaborate with Outfitters to help trip planners make more informed decisions.
What is critical?
1. Try and learn as much about your clients before they arrive. It shows that they are important to you. Once again, an online form will help you learn more about your potential client or volunteer. This will allow you to have a better understanding before you talk in person.
2. Have enough information available at the ready to prevent any constraints and give your clients confidence that they are making the right choice for their needs. However, do not present too much information because it may overwhelm.
3 If your model hits a saturation point with volunteers and clients do not demarket or ignore emails or phone calls, but instead have passive onboarding. Point people in the right direction by putting your website to work. If you have links to other organizations you will have two parties that appreciate your time and effort.
4. Please consider reading this Blog. ASTC’s 10 Steps to Onboarding potential Members/Volunteers/Clients/Interns to your Organization
You nailed the first impressions and your client is motivated and confident after experiencing your onboarding process.
Services are in the process of being rendered. You might even have access to their credit card information!
Have the appropriate attention to detail as the experience progresses. If your Guide is not ready for the mission to take care of your guest, then you must realize that you are only as strong as your weakest link. You may need to spend money recruiting the best staff possible to help the tourism experience in this phase and beyond.
Finding people with the passion to provide hospitality towards others is not easy. Providing hospitality and wanting to connect with your guests are the most imporant factors in tourism. "VIP travel is luxury travel , and luxury travel is how we get the Travel Consortiums interested."
What is Critical?
1. Have as many back up plans as possible. If your guests see that you have exhausted your resources they will appreciate your commitment to them.
2. Interpretative Skills. Here you explain and translate your culture so that the tourist will be more informed and educated. Also, the tourists are given an opportunity to provide feedback in order for both parties to connect and learn from each other. This enrichment of the tourism experience will help transform tourists into stakeholders.
Tourists into Stakeholders
The people you provided services to have had a wonderful week-long vacation; or perhaps they had a great time at a rest stop break. These tourits have the potential to become stakeholders in your community!
What is Critical?
1. Caring about people is critical. Help them with their next tourist experience. More importantly help them with becoming a stakeholder in your neck of the woods. You do not need to be charismatic, you just have to care. Remember, never turn away someone who cares.
Please go to our ASTC Blog Sub-Forum to join the conversation on this subject.
Thanks for reading.
Appalachia Sustainable Tourism Collaboration