Archive for November, 2010

“Expressing Gratitude to our Guests” by Dr. Peter Tarlow

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010


Expressing Gratitude to our Guests

On an ever-increasing basis the careful observer of tourism and travel hears phrases such as: “remember when travel used to be fun?” or “I used to love to travel and now I dread it!” Few people will disagree that the fun and elegance of travel and tourism has now given way to the mundane and world of hassles. Often the travel and tourism industry blames the events of September 11, 2001 for many of its ills. Certainly September 11th plays a role in the decline of travel and tourism, but perhaps tourism and travel professionals need to ask ourselves if this decline is also not due to factors very much within our control. There are exceptions to this rule, for example many hotels have gone out-of-their way to improve service over the past few years. Free wireless internet and breakfasts have become almost standard fare. Many hotels offer a welcome cookie or other sweet to guests, and the classical checkout times have been modified to meet the needs of the business traveler. Despite these improvements the travel and tourism industry has a long way to go if it is to regain its customers’ confidence. One of the ways to do this is to demonstrate to our customers that they are more than needed, that they are appreciated. When our visitors feel appreciated they have a higher tendency not only to return but also to recommend that other frequent your establishment. Appreciated customers often view themselves as part of your team and will go out of their way to help you develop new ideas to make your business even more successful.
Tourism & More suggests that everyone in the travel community consider some of the following ideas.
-Have an appreciative attitude. All too many people in tourism have come to think of their customers as the enemy. The best customer appreciation policies simply will not work if you forget that were there no customers, passengers, or visitors you would be out of business. It is important that our mindset is one in which we are grateful for every customer.

-Remember that tourists do not need to return. Often tourism professionals speak about the value of the repeat customer, but do nothing to gain the customer’s loyalty or desire to return. No matter in what area of tourism you work, develop a new or creative way to get visitors to want to return to your establishment.
-Put your best foot forward. Frontline personnel set the tone of a tourism experience. It does not matter if that person works in a hotel or on an airline, at a ticket booth or as a waiter or waitress. It also does not matter if the person is a repeat customer or a new one, treat every single customer as it’s the first time doing business with you. Putting your best foot forward goes a long way making your customers feel worthwhile
– Treat your frontline people as kings and queens. These are the people who are the “face of tourism”. Visitors do not care about the policies developed at the head office. What they care about is how they are treated and if they have a problem, if that problem will be handled in an efficient and kind manner. For this reason, choose your frontline people carefully. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert or shy but these people are not meant for the frontline. Choose people who like people, who are gregarious, kind and tend not to become high strung.

– Go out of your way to host as many customer appreciation parties as possible. Have a party to celebrate a new product, a new store opening, or just a party to celebrate your gratitude toward your customers. Appreciation parties do not need to be lavish; often cookies, a soft drink, coffee or tea will be sufficient. What really counts is the atmosphere that you create that says: “we care!

-Use the customer’s preferred names in conversation after the first conversation. Try to figure out if the person wishes to be addressed on an informal first name basis or on a more formal basis. Us the name that makes the customer feel the most comfortable. Remember that being appreciative is not about you, but about the customer.

-Develop a “friends and family” event where both employees and your best customers get special rewards. Remember that it is best to give something smaller to everyone than to exclude someone. People often feel better or get more upset about the small things than the big picture.
-Send a thank you card, email or letter for every purchase somebody makes. In today’s world, emails are almost instantaneous and act not only as a way to show appreciation, but permit follow=up dialogue and branding re-enforcement.
-Ask yourself if you are doing the following: When there is a problem do you become defensive or do you ask what you can do to make this person feel better? How often do my employees and I smile? Do I bring my home troubles to work? Do I make people feel so good about my business that they want to return? Have I shown a customer today that he or she is a special person?

“The Air Travel Mess”

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

This is not the regular edition of Tourism Tidbits but a supplementary edition dealing with the airline/airport mess that is currently strangling air traffic and tourism.  While this newsletter will be sent to people around the world, it is especially meant for the US traveler as s/he faces the Thanksgiving holiday. We apologize to our foreign readers for this special edition being USA-centric.

The staff of Tourism & More wishes you a very happy Thanksgiving Holiday


“The Air Travel Mess”

Just a few days before the United States’ busiest travel day the tourism & travel community faces another economic challenge.  The latest controversy surrounding the “full body scanners” and “enhanced pat-downs” has become one more event in the combined tragic comedy that has become air travel.  On one hand the cry “don’t touch my junk” has taken on a whole new meaning.  On the other hand, there are those who argue that these complaints are nothing more than a reflection of a spoiled public, and that if “you don’t like the new regulations, don’t fly”.   Terrorists in Yemen now brag that for very little money they can take down an airliner and memories of September 11, 2001 still abound.

Tourism & travel professionals, however, have still other worries. Included in these is the fact that newest regulations may simply encourage people not to travel.  More and more we are coming to understand why the word travel is derived from the French word “travail” meaning “work” which in turn is derived from the Latin word for pitchfork.  The following article looks at the pros and cons of the newest regulations and then provides some suggestions for travel and tourism professionals.

The pros
Government officials argue that these new enhanced regulations are necessary to keep the public safe.  From their perspective it is better to have one’s body parts touched then it is to have them blown up.  The government argues that the fully body scans are done in such a way as not to embarrass any traveler, that they are the state-of-the-art, and that they are perfectly healthy and do not cause disease.  For those who prefer the enhanced pat-downs, the government points out that TSA employees also dislike the need to touch someone’s private parts and that these people are doing this only as an act of patriotism.  The reality is that if a passenger is not a frequent flier the body scanners will probably not do him/her any harm, and that TSA employees did not sign up to become “body-feelers.”  Another argument is that even if we stop only one terrorist attack, the government has done its job in protecting the common welfare of its citizens. Unfortunately, the statement by high government officials that if you do not like the new regulations then simply do not fly has struck many as cold and arrogant.  In today’s world with families divided across the nation and business done from a global perspective there are too many people who depend on air travel for both work and family reasons.  For many business people the alternatives are to fly or to go out of business.

The cons

Those who have rallied around the cry “don’t touch my junk” take a very different approach.  These people argue that instead of punishing the traveler, the government ought to be seeking out the terrorists.  The arguments against the enhanced scanners and pat-downs are (1) they are an invasion of privacy, (2) they are not effective in the fight against terrorism, but rather are symbols of a reactive policy rather than a pro-active policy, (3) they treat everyone the same no matter what the person’s level of security risk and (4) the machines may cause cancer, (5) that selective psychological analysis (profiling) is more effective and provides better protection.
While there is some remote possibility that the body scanners might cause long-term health effects on extreme frequent fliers, the odds are that they are just one more medical scare in a long line of scares.  On the other hand, a determined terrorist can get around these enhanced machines and pat-downs and even if we were to require all passengers totally to disrobe absolute security cannot be guaranteed. Lastly, tourism officials need to point out that terrorism’s number one purpose is to destroy economies.  If people stop flying due to the hassle of travel, then is it fair to ask if the terrorists have not already won?

The Tourism & Travel Perspective

Tourist and travel professionals are concerned about this newest travel hassle.  Air travel has increasingly become more unpleasant since the 9-11 attacks.  There is now a whole generation that has grown up with the idea that to travel is not to eat, that poor customer service is a part of the travel experience, that airplanes are crowded, often dirty and usually uncomfortable. Airports have made the travel experience worse.  Airport food prices are often approach the level of gauging, seats are often uncomfortable and only a few airports provide free wireless service.  Travelers have gotten used to removing shoes, coats, and computers, and rude and arrogant behavior has become all too prevalent throughout the industry.

Tourism officials need to know how to read statistical data and use these data properly.  For example, although terrorism receives a great deal more publicity then do traffic accidents, there are many more people who die from unsafe roads, poor signage, or second hand tobacco smoke than from terrorism attacks against transportation carriers such as aviation.  Another misuse of statistics is that although a recent poll discovered that over 80% of the public approved of the new regulations, the great majority of these people had not flown since the new regulations had gone into effect.

What we in the industry can do

Know where you stand on enhanced methods and then take a position. If you agree or disagree with the new regulations, it is important that you understand them and then take a position.  Send letters to your local media and write to your congressional delegation and let them know your opinion.  Do not write out of emotions but rather present clear and cogent arguments to support your position. Whenever possible back your position with accurate data.

Meet with and work with your local airport authorities. It is essential to understand that the airport management is your ally and not your adversary.  If people stop flying, airport personnel are out of a job. Do everything possible to make airports as pleasant as possible.  Go from the mundane to the outrageous. For example, give a small token of appreciation such a flower or a local product to every person who arrives, make a big deal out of every 1,000th or 10,000th arrival, or give a departing gift to everyone who leaves and let them know how much you want them to return.

Improve on-the-ground customer service. Remember that travel is no longer fun and therefore many of our guests arrive tired, angry or frustrated.  Take these feelings into account, get hotels to develop flexible check-in and check-out times, or encourage restaurants to offer “happy you are here comfort foods”.

Make sure that you understand that tourism surety (safety plus security) is a lot more complicated than merely controlling who gets on airplanes. In a highly media oriented world anything from a sporting event to a shopping mall is a target. This is the time to work with local and state police agencies to develop both a tourism terrorism risk task force and to have an action plan ready in case it is ever needed.

Where applicable emphasize that your community has a TOPPs unit and use them to promote your economic development. A secondary consequence of the newest controversy is the fact that once again security has risen to the forefront of the public’s consciousness. If you have a  TOPPs unit in your community this is a great way to reassure an increasingly worried and anxious public.  Tourism officials need to learn how to incorporate TOPPs units into their marketing plans.

About the Author:
Dr. Peter E. Tarlow is the President of T&M, a founder of the Texas chapter of TTRA and a popular author and speaker on tourism. Tarlow is a specialist in the areas of sociology of tourism, economic development, tourism safety and security. Tarlow speaks at governors’ and state conferences on tourism and conducts seminars throughout the world and for numerous agencies and universities.

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You are welcome to reproduce “Tourism Tidbits” or any part of “Tourism Tidbits” with proper citing.  We hope that you will see “Tourism Tidbits” as a place where tourism, visitor, and travel professionals exchange ideas and information. “Tourism Tidbits” does not offer or provide specific legal or financial advice. Our goal is to provide a “review” for industry personnel and discuss provocative issues. We remind all readers that every specific business decision should be made only after you have done the proper research. The author(s) accept(s) no responsibility for any loss due to any information published in “Tourism Tidbits.”

All articles sent to “Tourism Tidbits” and accepted for publication are owned by “Tourism Tidbits” and may be subjected to editorial review and rewriting (with permission of the author). All questions about “Tourism Tidbits”, suggestions, or cancellations should be addressed to Dr. Peter E. Tarlow at
Dr. Peter Tarlow
1218 Merry Oaks,
College Station, Texas, 77840-2609, USA.
Telephone: +1 (979) 764-8402.

Ideas for Your Inn

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Ideas for Your Inn

This beautiful vase will wow your guests this holiday season. Display anywhere it will get the most attention!

You will need:

15-inch oversized glass vase
20 frosted glass ornaments
5 yards wired ribbon
White Floral Tape
20 count set craft lights with white wiring
2 packages Crystal Fiber

What you do

Start with a 15-inch oversized glass vase that has enough volume to contain the ornaments, lights and crystal fiber.

Wire Up the Ornaments: Remove the caps from all the frosted ornaments. Insert one clear light into each glass ball and secure it with white floral tape.

Put in the Crystal Fiber and Arrange the Wired Ornaments: Layer some crystal fiber in the bottom of the vase, then layer several glass ornaments on top of the fiber, placing the cord towards the center of the vase so it is not visible from the outside. Add some more crystal fiber and more ornaments alternatively and use some of the fiber in specific places to hide the wire.

Tie on the Wired Ribbon, Plug in Your Lights and Enjoy the Results! Use enough ribbon to tie full bow with multiple loops. Wired ribbon is great for shaping and arranging the loops for a more pleasing effect. Now you are ready! Plug in and enjoy your wintery new Crystal Reflections vase!

Design by Rita Fleehart

This tip courtesy of

What do business travelers want? Not just clean rooms!

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

What do business travelers want? Not just clean rooms!

by Tom Johansmeyer (RSS feed) on Nov 12th 2010 at 8:00AM

With business travel on the rise, hotels are probably thinking about how to make these lucrative customers as happy as possible. After all, a frequent business traveler can be on the road 40 weeks a year or more (been there, I assure you), and they don’t always have the same flexibility as leisure travelers. There’s a big opportunity here, especially with business travel set to increase next year.

“Consumers are more value-conscious than ever and have been conditioned to expect more for their money after a steady diet of recession-era deals. The tipping point for hotels to differentiate their brand offering and strengthen loyalty among the post-recessionary business traveler will be providing additional complementary services and amenities tailored to their guests’ specific needs,” said Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman and tourism, hospitality and leisure sector leader, Deloitte LLP. “Beyond traditional incentives, hotels are realizing the importance of developing their online presence, particularly with mobile platforms, to capitalize on a crucial touch point for brand communication.”

For both sectors, however, now would be a pretty smart time to listen to a group of customers that is about to start spending more money. Global professional services firm Deloitte recently surveyed 1,001 business travelers and has revealed the information that the travel industry can use to connect with its best target market more effectively.

Here’s what business travelers want:

1. Work-friendly room: 68 percent of business travelers often work in their rooms, Deloitte said in a statement following the survey. And for a long time, I was one of them. If a room is not designed for me to get stuff done – from a desk to wifi access – the room doesn’t work. The amenities, artwork and staff responsiveness don’t matter if a business traveler can’t work comfortably.

2. Better than clean and comfy: are you satisfied with a clean room and a comfortable bed? Well, you’re probably alone. Deloitte found that 65 percent of business travelers “expect a lot more from a hotel” than that.

3. Business on internet time: it’s hardly responding that 79 percent of the respondents felt that high-speed web access was an important amenity. Seventy-seven percent cited free parking, as well.

4. Rewards for loyalty: 30 percent of business travelers, according to the Deloitte survey, “felt their favorite hotel brand was so important to them that they would stay at that hotel brand even if it were not in the most convenient location.” Interestingly, this level of loyalty was highest among respondents earning at least $150,000 a year.

There’s more than brand familiarity going on here, I suspect (again, my suspicion, not Deloitte’s). Rewards for loyalty sure help, and I remember it influencing a lot of business travel behavior when I was living the road warrior life.

5. Device love: almost half of survey respondents said they have a web-enabled smartphone. Meanwhile, this is true of 84 percent of the 18-to-29 business traveler crowd and 63 percent of business travelers earning more than $150,000 a year. Twenty-six percent of respondents have downloaded a hotel app to a device, with 54 percent of them using it “primarily to book a room.”

Be a featured attraction in the 2011 Nebraska Passport Program

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

To:         Nebraska Travel and Tourism Industry

From:    Christian Hornbaker, Director, Department of Economic Development Travel & Tourism Division

Re:         Be a featured attraction in the 2011 Nebraska Passport Program

Those of you who attended the recent Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference heard about the tremendous success of the 2010 Nebraska’s Byways Passport Program. In fact, the program was so well received that the DED Travel and Tourism Division is bringing it back in 2011 and opening it up to attractions across the entire state, not just the Byways.

For those unfamiliar with the program, the 2010 Nebraska’s Byways Passport Program encouraged travelers to visit attractions along the state’s nine scenic and historic routes. Participants could earn prizes by collecting stamps at designated stops.

The program received overwhelming support from visitors and the industry. According to a recent follow-up survey, the program dramatically increased visitor traffic to participating attractions.

Visitors said they traveled to places they wouldn’t have otherwise because of the Passport Program. Participants came from 18 states, and 120 travelers (with families in tow) went to all 27 stops, which involved traveling nearly 1,882 miles. In addition, the media attention attracted made it one of our most successful programs.

Every effort will be made to spread the stops across the state. To meet that goal, we are now accepting applications for featured attractions in the 2011 program. Previous passport stops are welcome to apply. We expect a large number of applications, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t selected. We will encourage each location to promote the surrounding area and increase awareness of what else there is to see and do nearby.

To be considered as a featured destination in the 2011 Nebraska Passport Program, please use the application below. All applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19.

Please email your completed application to Public Relations Coordinator Shannon Peterson at If you prefer to have the application in a Word document, send Shannon an email requesting the form.

All applicants will be notified as to whether or not they are selected for the program as soon as the selection process is complete. By submitting an application you agree to:

•             Have your attraction staffed by a person who can stamp passports during your listed business hours as well as highlight things to do in your area.

•             Positively promote the program by displaying materials—such as posters and passports—at your attraction.

•             Purchase the program membership for $100 if selected as a featured attraction. The fee includes the two stamps required to participate and marketing materials to promote your attraction and the program.


Name of attraction:


Mailing address:




Scheduled hours of operation for 2011:

Contact person’s name:

Contact person’s email:

If your attraction is closed (for whatever reason) is there an alternate location where tourists can go to get their passports stamped?

What will your attraction add to the Passport Program?

A Top Ten List of Year-End Questions

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

A Top Ten List of Year-End Questions

Michael E. Angier

“In order to embrace the new, we must release the old. A trapeze artist cannot swing from one bar to another without letting go. An important part of preparing for the New Year is to review the past year—to release it—and to learn from it.…

The following questions should stimulate your thinking for this process. I hope that you take time out of your busy schedule this holiday season to ponder where you are and where you’ve been. Talk with people you care about. Write out your thoughts and feelings. Do some journaling. Consider writing a letter—an end-of the-year-epistle to yourself. It could be profound to write it and valuable to read it in the years ahead.

Reflect upon what you did, how you felt, what you liked, what you didn’t and what you learned. Try to look at yourself and your experience with as much objectivity as you can—much like a biographer would.

Here are some suggestions to get you started in mulling over the past year—perhaps the last decade. Feel free to add your own.

What did I learn? (skills, knowledge, awareness, etc.)

What did I accomplish? A list of my wins and achievements.

What would I have done differently? Why?

What did I complete or release? What still feels incomplete to me?

What were the most significant events of the year past? List the top three.

What did I do right? What do I feel especially good about? What was my greatest contribution?

What were the fun things I did? What were the not-so-fun?

What were my biggest challenges/roadblocks/difficulties?

How am I different this year than last?

For what am I particularly grateful?

Another Suggestion: Consider listing all the things in your life of which you’d like to let go—anything you no longer want. Give thanks for what they’ve brought you in terms of learning and usefulness and then burn the list. It’s a symbolic gesture to help you release the old and be open to the new. The next step is to list what you do want—experiences, knowledge, material things, relationships, healings, whatever.…

I’m confident that anything you can do to make this year-end more dramatic in terms of your own personal and spiritual growth will be valuable.”

Preparing to Decorate for the Holidays!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Travel and Tourism Conference Observations by NABB Members

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

I thought it would be good to share the observations that we as NABB members learned at the Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference that took place in October in Lincoln, NE.
Harriet Gould, newly elected President of the Nebraska Association of Bed and Breakfast (NABB), with Pine Crest Farms B&B in Valparaiso, NE, stated that there were three important things that she wanted to incorporate. 1. Get a Facebook account set up for NABB, 2. Encourage members of NABB to use social media to market their business, 3. Encourage building business partnerships in our individual communities.
Linda Ard, board member of NABB and owner of Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn in Minden, NE, stated that 1. Marketing through social media is a must, 2. Signage must be carefully planned and constructed, 3. There is a great potential in marketing at Farmers’ Markets across the state, 4. Meet the interests of our target markets that we are hoping to reach.
Suella Hanlon, newly elected Vice President to the Board of Directors for NABB, sole proprietor of The Hanlon House B&B in Scottsbluff, NE, says that the most meaningful thing for her is partnering, collaboration, “co-op”etition, and all the other words that are most important in describing our manner for working with each other in every conceivable fashion!

Articles About Holiday Traditions by NABB Members

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

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