Connect and prosper. Why getting to know your guests is so important.

Running a tourism business means you are operating in a very competitive and dynamic market. Fundamentally, what you are competing for, is the attention of travellers looking for unique experiences. Connecting with those that book with you plays a pivotal role in the long-term success of your business.

Creating and nurturing a personal connection with guests goes beyond simple hospitality; it needs to be considered as a strategic action to grow the profile and profitability of your business.

In this blog, we explore the reasons why getting to know your customers is not just a nicety but a crucial element for sustained success.

Most importantly, It’s all about you and your staff, the people that come into direct contact with guests. That is where the connection starts, flourishes, or (Ouch!) falls over.

‘Set and forget’ and ‘one size fits all’ are dangerous phrases in tourism. For our industry personalisation is the key to creating memorable experiences which is the glue that keeps guests coming back and encouraging others to book. Understanding the unique preferences and interests of your guests allows you to tailor their experience. Whether it’s recommending hidden gems, catering to specific dietary needs, or customising activities based on individual preferences, personalisation ensures that each guest feels seen, listened to, and valued.

Tourism is about building relationships. Getting to know your guests on a personal level creates a sense of connection and trust. When guests feel listened to, understood, and valued, they are more likely to give a positive review, promote your offering to friends and return for future trips. Building lasting relationships with guests will turn them into a tourism business’s prime asset, an advocate, promoting your business through positive word-of-mouth and referrals.

Hearing and understanding your guests allow you to anticipate their needs and not just meet, but surpass, their expectations. From providing thoughtful amenities to offering surprise ‘value adds’ or personalised touches, exceeding expectations enhances the overall guest experience. Guests who feel genuinely personally appreciated are more likely to leave glowing reviews, contributing to your positive reputation.

No matter how meticulously you plan, unforeseen issues can arise during a guest’s engagement with you. Knowing your guests allows you to address problems proactively and in real-time. Whether it’s a special request or a minor hiccup, your ability to swiftly resolve issues demonstrates your commitment to their needs and satisfaction and contributes to a positive overall impression. With this, they will generally give you the ‘benefit of the doubt’.

No doubt, you have experienced interactions with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Knowing your guests on a personal level assists and fosters cultural sensitivity and understanding. This not only enhances the individual guest’s experience but also contributes to a welcoming ‘vibe’ for individuals from different cultures. If your actions and procedures respect and celebrate diversity you’re more likely to attract a broad and inclusive clientele.

Building personal connections also encourages open communication. Guests who feel a personal connection with your business are more likely to provide honest and constructive feedback, rather than a spontaneous ‘cold’ negative review. Considered feedback is invaluable for making improvements, addressing issues, and continuously improving the quality of your offering.

Put simply, if you invest the time and effort in building connections with your guests you will earn their repeat business. Guests who feel an emotional connection with you, are more likely to return. Loyalty, once established, can become a driving force for the sustained success of your business.

Remember, personal experiences are at least as important as destinations, so the value of getting to know your guests should not be underestimated. Guests are more likely to choose you over your competitors if they feel some emotional connection with you.

From personalisation and relationship-building to problem-solving and cultural understanding, the benefits of establishing a personal connection extend far beyond the immediate guest experience. A tourism business that prioritises personal connections is not providing a service, it’s creating memories.