Posts Tagged ‘business traveler’

Google Super Powering Kansas City, KS & MO Hotels and tourism centers among those getting blazing fast network from Google. FOR FREE!

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Google Super Powering Kansas City, KS & MO

Hotels and tourism centers among those getting blazing fast network from Google. FOR FREE!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Caryn Eve Murray

In two Midwestern urban centers, both called Kansas City, Google isn’t just valued as a search engine. Lately, it’s being eyed for its prowess as a steam engine.

Kansas City, Kansas, and its sister city in Missouri are looking to harness the output of that engine to go places – or rather, to encourage travelers from elsewhere to go places: places like Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

The power of Google’s new high-speed Internet service is something the cities’ officials hope will hold promise for growth in business, education and travel – if not more.

The two Kansas Cities became successful bidders, among the more than 1,000 competitors nationwide, and earlier this year won the coveted first U.S. installations of Google’s lightning speed broadband network – a digital speedway that will provide access for government buildings, schools, hospitals, hotels and convention centers, just for starters.

Now, Kansas City, Missouri is “very anxious and excited,” said Derek Klaus of the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association there. Writing in an email, Klaus cautioned, however, that it was still too premature to know how the hookup, once it goes online next year, will affect tourism in particular.

And on the Kansas side of the border, similar question marks also stand beside the eager exclamation points.

“What does this mean? My best answer is, ‘I don’t know.’ This has never been done before,” said Bridgette Jobe, executive director of the Kansas City Kansas Convention & Visitors Bureau. “But we know it is a good thing and every day as we talk about it we say ‘what about this? What about that?’

“We do know it will have an immediate effect on business attraction and retention,” she said. “That is going to be the first area where we are going to see some growth in Kansas City, Kansas, due to the relationship with Google. If you have a business that depends on high speed Internet or you are looking to develop new technologies you are going to want to go the place where that is accessible,” Jobe said.

High-speed Internet is obviously not a tourist attraction, drawing gawkers to photograph its wires and other hardware.

“This is not something people will come and visit,” Jobe said. “I suppose we could show them the wires but, really, it is not going to be of visitor interest in that way. But for the business traveler, and for meetings and conventions, it will be a selling point, something that sets us apart and differentiates us from our competitors … The high speed, the wireless, the meeting space and other amenities are things meeting planners would look for.”

“It kinds of puts us out there at least for a period of time as the only place in the country that can offer this,” said Mike Taylor, director of public relations for the unified government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas. Heralding the cities’ impending high-speed hookups as the dawn of the Silicon Prairie – opening the door to an influx of tech operations to the region – Mayor Sly James on the Missouri side, and Mayor Joe Reardon on the Kansas side have put together the Mayors’ Bi-State Innovation Team to see how all sectors of public and private life, everything from jobs to health to tourism, can tap into the new hookup next year.

Taylor said it was already clear that venues such as the Livestrong Sporting Park, the city’s professional sports stadium, would become even more high-profile tourist attractions. “They have a lot of high tech stuff there, they do concerts as well, and those guys are really excited about what the Google fiber can allow them to do in terms of graphics and production on a big screen.”

Likewise, he said, on the Missouri side, Bartle Hall Convention Center would benefit from the enhanced capacity to carry meetings and lectures.

Jobe said the whole experience has been somewhat like the announcement in 1999 that the city would be getting another high-speed venue – the Kansas Speedway – built in the community. “We all knew it was going to be big, but we just didn’t understand how big it was. It’s just one of those big announcements that’s almost too big to wrap your hands around.”

Meanwhile, some 60 miles away from all the action in Kansas City, Kansas is Topeka, Kansas, which had grabbed headlines – but ultimately not the hoped-for Google contract – after boldly renaming itself “Google, Kansas” in the spring of 2010.

“There are no hurt feelings over that,” said Shalyn Marsh, communications and marketing manager for the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. All was not lost with the loss of a Google opportunity, she said.

“The whole push brought the city and the younger community together to say what we loved about Topeka and that push is still going on, for new ideas and better things,” she said. And perhaps, she said, that may someday include a Google hookup anyway. But in the meantime, she said, “tourism numbers are up” and the city is optimistic about business in the year ahead.

“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?

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