Wednesday March 20, 2013
The Tourism Society’s Business Focus session, held on day two of the Best of Britain & Ireland show, considered the importance of accessibility, marketing trends, customer service and sustainable transport to companies’ business plans.
David Freisner FTS (Director, David Friesner Management Consultancy) chaired the session, which provided plenty of excellent practical advice drawn from the panel’s collective 100 years of industry experience.
Martin Evans FTS (Director, The Tourism Business) focused on ‘Marketing Magic,’ which could be achieved by following his ten simple tips, including concentrating on creativity and developing an off–peak marketing plan. He stressed the importance of personalising the messages that companies send out.
Jenny Littman MBE (Chief Executive, Tourism for All) stated that an ageing population means an increasing need for accessibility; with 20% of the world’s population currently having access needs it is simply good customer service to provide accessible facilities. Begin with addressing the company’s attitude to accessibility, then adapt the facilities and finally make sure you let everyone know about it.
David Andrews FTS (Director, Welcome Training) continued the customer service theme, looking at the delivery of good service and the effect poor service can have on customer retention. Employee indifference can account for 68% of cases of customers leaving a company – hire on attitude and teach the right skills, and this figure should not apply to you.
Neil Warren MTS (Business Engagement Specialist – Tourism, University of Exeter) highlighted the important role transport plays in moulding a visitor’s experience as it is often their first point of contact with a destination. He stressed the need to concentrate on the experience of ‘travel’ rather than the actual means of ‘transport’ to encourage visitors to appreciate the connection between how they move around a destination and the things that they do there. Warren gave the example of a combined travel and attraction entry ticket in Cornwall, which makes it easier for visitors to organise their day-trips.
David Friesner wrapped up by highlighting the inter-relatedness of these four key subjects and encouraged the audience to review their businesses and incorporate the panel’s suggestions.