I think it was Michele McKenzie who said at Online Revealed Canada that people in the tourism industry should realize they’re in the business of making memories first and putting heads to beds second. I agree.
If you haven’t seen Simon Sinek’s TED video below, you really should. His book is a worth a read as well.
Simon’s hypothesis is simple. Businesses communicate wrong. They communicate WHAT they do, then HOW they do it. Instead they should communicate WHY they do things, then HOW they do it, then WHAT they do. When you inspire people about WHY you do things, the how and what makes more sense.
At Think! we believe we can make people’s lives better by making tourism experiences better, one destination or product at a time. We do this by working with DMO’s and tourism product operators, helping them create remarkable products and market them to the niche audiences that truly love them. We have a methodology and we offer strategic development, training, products and delivery services to achieve this.
Why should somebody visit your destination or business? Don’t tell me because you have the best food, the best golf, best art scene or the cleanest rooms. That’s WHAT you do. And everybody else claims the same thing.
Disney themeparks are in the business of making “magical” memories for families. Vegas is in the business of making memories that “stay in Vegas” to anybody but families. They both know their WHY and so does everybody who works there, and their customers who visit know it as well.
What’s your WHY?
Word-of-mouth is the core of tourism marketing. Remarkable tourism product and experiences drive word-of-mouth. No amount of advertising can build credible awareness or brand like word-of-mouth.
While in Riga for the ETC eBusiness academy, I came across a few great examples of remarkable experiences that I’ve told to at least 50 people. Plus the people in my social networks have seen videos and photos. Many of these people asked follow-up questions. What are the people like? Is it expensive? Where is it?
I had dinner in 4 or 5 restaurants while I was there. They were all good. But I don’t remember their names. Except one: Hospitalis, a soviet style hospital themed restaurant. The video I took of my Austrian friend Martin below will explain why.
My new friend Maija from Riga invited me and Martin to “go flying”. No idea what she was talking about but how can you say no to that? About 20 minutes outside Riga was the Aerodium. Hovering 10 meters over a huge ventilator was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I would fly back the 12 hours just to do that again.
I’ve talked to people. I’ve posted photos and videos on Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. I am the media and the message for Latvia Tourism. I wonder how many of the people I’ve connected with have heard of Riga before? And I wonder how many have Googled either Riga, Latvia, Hospitalis of Aerodrome. Will you?