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Be Nice or Leave

Written on: Feb 25, 2018

By: Hannah Paramore Breen

Locals are as much a part of your community’s brand as a logo, tagline and marketing campaign. In fact, they may be the most important component of a great tourism brand. From the moment a visitor crosses the city limits until they leave, they have had hundreds of opportunities to interact with locals. When they go home, they talk about the people they met and the vibe of the city, how they were treated by hotel and restaurant staff and the way that made them feel. This was pointed out to Macon, Georgia, during a research project with Mandala Research in 2011 where they learned that customer service was more of an issue than they thought. This issue has long-term impact. If visitors don’t feel welcome, they won’t return, and worse, they’ll discourage others from visiting.

The tourism industry accounts for 5.5 million jobs in the U.S. and yet many of those are entry-level, low-paying jobs. Training is often hard to find. Communities are beginning to invest in customer service training programs and fam trips for hospitality staff for more than one reason. Doing so enhances the experience of their visitors and helps residents build skills that will improve their ability to provide for themselves and their families for the long term. For examples of how communities are putting these programs in place and tips on how to get started yourself, contact us.