Tourists are like grandparents – they come to visit, bring lots of stuff, generate some excitement, then leave.
The “stuff” these grandparents bring, however, is actually money. Money that fuels Drummond’s economy.
Money – in these hard economic times – that fewer and fewer tourists are bringing Drummond’s way. For our community to stay vital in this ever changing and competitive tourist market, then local business people and their staffs need to do everything they can to keep folks coming back – coming back and bringing friends and family with them.
And I don’t believe anyone gets away with not being greeted by Sue McCaskill whenever she is in residence at The Northwood. Her smile warms up the dining room like no one else’s as she passes from table to table checking on coffee levels and sharing a quick story or two.
However if Drummond Island is to stay competitive, if it is to continue to draw tourists worried about gas prices this far north, then it is best to not rest on past laurels. Hernbroth, in his training sessions for tourist industry stakeholders, offers five rules for providing better service to customers:
Listen to your customers – Ask them, “How are we doing?” Customer’s perceptions are more important than what managers think they know. The public’s perception of your business is their reality – and one they will share with others. When someone complains about the service they received take the time to listen closely. Compliments are nice, complaints heeded help your business grow and improve.
Ask for ideas – Business managers/owners should involve their staff in moving their businesses forward by challenging them to regularly contribute ideas. Employees are on the front line and often see – or hear - the little things managers miss.
Identify your passionate workers – They are the top-performing workers who are already finding ways to help the business. Reward them. Build around them. Clone them!
When the Michigan Tourism Industry Planning Council got together with Eastern Upper Peninsula stakeholders during one of their Listening Sessions, and asked them to rank their most important concerns by vote *Visitor Experience* came out on top. Participants said they needed to guarantee that tourists felt their experience in the E.U.P. was: friendly, full of fond memories, fun, adventurous, enjoyable and left them with a desire to return.
Yes, they are Fudgies, Flatlanders and F.I.P.s – but they are also Drummond Island’s bread-and-butter. Remembering to always follow Gary Hernbroth’s Five Rules for Better Service will ensure that Drummond Island retains its title of “Gem of the Huron”.
On a final, lighter note –
A flatlander dies and goes to Heaven. St. Peter is showing him around. Everything is glorious. There is a music hall with every kind of music, all played with angelic perfection. The dining hall offers food beyond compare.
And the residences, St. Peter assures him, are comfortable beyond all imagination. On their way to the residence halls, they turn down a hall where everyone is chained to the wall. St. Peter offers no comment as they continue down the long passageway. After a few minutes the man asks St. Peter. "If this is Heaven and everything is so wonderful why are these people chained up?"
St Peter answers, "Oh. Those are the downstate Michiganders – Flatlanders. If we don't keep them chained up they try to escape to their cabins on Drummond Island during the weekends."
Let’s keep ‘em coming!