Tourism, the forgotten realm of retailing.

Postcard from Phil Dorrell, partner, Retail Remedy.

Tourism would do well to follow what retailers have long known: in order to be successful they must follow one overarching simple rule (the number one rule in our retailer’s rules to success as it happens), “Listen to your customer”. Think what they need and then go all out to provide it above all competition. Do that, as complicated as it might be and you will grow a profitable business.

Numerous retailers crash and burn every year as they fail this simple rule. It’s easy to convince yourself that you are delivering great service and that your feedback is good, our customers love us, yet the truth is we find out too late that being on the okay list means you are on the down-slope. If you are not reaching to go beyond customer’s expectations and build on that constantly then you will at some point be overtaken and lose ground and eventually your business.

Tourism is the same but unfortunately the number of attractions, sites, events and local tourism boards who do not get this is rather sad.

In commercial terms it just needs someone to step up to the plate and they will clean up.

For example,  if I was Crantock Beach on Newquay’s south side in Cornwall I’d be going all out to make sure I knew what people wanted. Toilets that worked, showers to wash the sand off a beach user, covered parking, electric car charging points, a decent café with people who understood food service, an improved option for the hire and assistance of Kayaks, Surf-Boards, dog drinking fountains, etc.etc.etc. The list is off the top of my head and based on a short visit asking nobody.

I’d do these things because I know it would make the place THE destination, where I could expect a better return for people staying longer and coming more frequently. I am sure numerous such places have a broad set of stakeholders yet this does not stop High Streets, shopping Malls and European beaches offering an improved service, they know to do so is commercially wise.

It’s not just beaches though, it is virtually every visitor attraction I have visited whilst on holiday in Cornwall. We’ve loved it, yet the truth is as a UK tourist you have to put up with a lot, that in this day and age, is just wrong, and that always means lost revenue and lost advocacy.

Remember, all retail wants is constant footfall, all tourism needs is constant footfall. Drive this with great facilities and make it easy for people to spend time and money in your location. If you do not stand out in a good way then as purses tighten so will your business.

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