The motorcoach pulls up to the main entrance, the door open and the AARP Middleburg Heights seniors make another stop on their excursion. Although these guests may represent just one group I like to think the tour actually represents what I call four “audiences.” What am I talking about? To get that one group to visit my attraction I actually need to work with four different groups or audiences. Each audience has its’ own needs and timing. To assure the tour operator continues to bring business to my attraction I need to please all four audiences every time just one group visits.
The first audience is the tour operator, travel agent, or motorcoach company who books the tour. When the tour operator calls the minimum that is expected is someone answer the phone or quickly return a voice mail. Sounds simple but I have lost business because I did not return a phone call in a timely manner. If you can’t return a phone call quickly, can you fax or email the information? When the tour operator is ready to place the order, book the visit and follow-up quickly with a written confirmation. At this stage, you are primarily providing service, sometimes months before the actual visit.
Typically taken for granted, the motorcoach driver, the second audience, is responsible for safely transporting the guests to your front door. Be certain to provide accurate information on your location with map, driving instructions, drop off, pick-up, parking and on-site assistance. It is always a good idea to offer complimentary admission, meal, hotel room or at least discount rates. If the coach driver goes back to the boss with a litany of complaints, it is unlikely the tour operator will bring new business.
The escort, the third audience, is responsible for just about all aspects of the tour except driving. They keep the tour on schedule and be certain the group enjoys their tour. If the escort has problems with check-in and ticketing, with meals or accommodations, with special needs such as handicap access, etc. once again you may lose future business.
Finally, the guest is the fourth audience. They pay the price of admission and are the reason we are in business. Of course, they need to enjoy their visit. Each guest must be treated as VIPs by every member of your staff because they are VIPs. They make our paychecks possible. Guest feedback to the tour operator can also make or break the opportunity for additional bookings.
As you can see, for every one group that visits your business there are four different sets of needs or audiences. That means four opportunities to shine or to fail. Most times the needs do not require much effort, but the needs of all four audiences must be met to earn credibility and repeat business.