Hollywood is calling
I might have fibbed a bit when I wrote 'Hollywood is calling'. But you're reading this blog now so it sort of proves a point.
We're fascinated by the glamour of the film industry, by 'red carpet' events and might even secretly enjoy being a little star-struck from time to time. How would it feel to be part of it?
I'm not actually offering you a starring role in the latest blockbuster, but I am inviting you to consider how it might feel to walk on that red carpet?
You're probably wondering what I'm talking about so I'll get to the point. How are you going to welcome guests this year?
I'm assuming you offer excellent customer service and a warm welcome every day to every visitor already.
Maybe this year, there's the chance to really do something a little extra?
So many people are venturing out for the first time or getting so excited about their trips. Everyone working in tourism and hospitality is ready to welcome back visitors. Those welcoming smiles are genuine.
I'll get back to the red carpet in a moment. But first let's just consider what's happening right now.
Normally if you told guests you're ready to offer a warm welcome, they take the idea with a pinch of salt - after all, it's your job to do that.
This year there are two simple things which will have an impact now and in the future:
1. Tell people - on your website, on social media, in a blog, in mailings - how excited you are to be able to welcome back guests, how it feels, what you're looking forward to. Don't just do this as you re-open, keep doing it. Show you're a human being. It's what people crave.
2. Think about anything you could do that will get people to talk about your welcome and their first impressions.
An extreme idea might be to get hold of a small off-cut of red carpet and to create a couple of rope barriers leading to the entrance of your business. Give your guests a red carpet experience. Not just the first one, but every one. It might look a bit odd doing this to a holiday cottage in the middle of nowhere, but that's the point. People will take photographs and talk about it.
Or maybe you're happy to welcome back children or dogs? Give them something on arrival (perhaps you might need to ask permission) so their owners and parents will smile and want to talk about it.
I remember a man who spent his working life selling tickets at the entrance to a small attraction. As each person approached, he sold them their ticket, wished them an enjoyable time and said, "I think you're my favourite visitors so far today". Every person, every day. It was his thing. People knew he repeated it to others but it still made them smile and feel special.
I still remember some excellent welcomes - the hotel that printed off the weather forecast and tailored ideas for the next couple of days, and the B&B owner who offered to wash our car windows after a long journey so we 'see all the beauty now you're here'. My favourite was the room above a pub which seemed expensive when we booked but was the only option available in the area: we soon forgot about the price when we spotted two miniatures, a couple of blackberries and tiny bottle of local fruit cordial together with a cocktail shaker and instructions to make a cocktail.
Your welcome might be a cake, a big smile and 'thanks for coming' or just a few words (personally or on a card) suggesting somewhere that's open or especially interesting or beautiful right now.
Whatever it is, could you somehow make your normal welcome brighter or more amusing or more photo-worthy?
Those additional welcoming touches could lead to more visit and bookings later and great reviews and recommendations.