The ultimate marketing strategy

barbadosIt’s that season again. The time when the air is filled with discussions related to tourism. These include the concessions granted to Sandals, the partial reopening of Almond Resort, projections on the trend in visitor arrivals, the likelihood of the Four Seasons revival and how our tourism marketing approach needs to change.

I am particularly intrigued by the assumptions being made about what can make our tourism industry more vibrant. Most of the reports indicate that the numbers of arrivals is declining, visits are shorter and that visitors are spending less than ever. Fingers are being pointed at the BTA, BHTA, APD, CTO, BTI, airlines policy, the Ministry of Tourism and even the Central Bank, as culprits in the current decline.

Another way to look at the situation is to ask why do most visitors choose to go elsewhere after visiting Barbados? The ideal formula is that visiting Barbados would be so satisfying that visitors would look forward to repeating the experience and be inspired to recommend it to others. Indeed, the government is so appreciative of the value of repeat visitors, that it regularly hosts them at Illaro Court, the Prime Minister’s residence. It would be interesting to know what percentage of all visitors this group represents.

It is well documented that “word of mouth” is the best form of advertising and marketing. With our tight financial situation, it would be helpful to spend less and get more.

The key to working this marketing approach is customer satisfaction. The willingness and ability to consistently provide an experience that causes people to rejoice. Unfortunately, poor service is our Achilles heel. If there is one commonly held belief, it is that service needs to improve in all aspects of our society.

Research shows that:

  • It costs 13 times as much to get a new customer as it does to key the one you got.
  • For every bad experience, it takes 12 consecutive good ones to overcome it.
  • Dissatisfied customer may not tell you but they will tell their friends about their bad experience. Now with social media, they can tell the world.
  • Defecting customers are a sure sign of a business slump ahead.
  • If you can reduce the number of customer defections by just 5% in a year, you can increase profitability by between 25% and 85% in that year, depending on the industry.
  • The same ratios apply to internal customers as well. It is worsened by the fact that you are also paying them to despise your business.

Research from various quality programmes around the world, confirms that approximately 95% of what is perceived as quality is customer satisfiers such as reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and appearance.

This not something that can faked; insincerity glows in the dark. Ritualized movements, forced smiles, and scripted dialogue cannot compare to professionals who are practised in recognizing the emotional nuances of their encounters with customers. Institutional policies that contradict promises of customer satisfaction are sure to sour the experiences of customers and service providers.

All the money spent on “renting” visitors, whether through concessions, promotional campaigns or heavily discounted packages to visitors; will simply buy customers for our competitors, if our approach to customer satisfaction stays the same.

Let’s do a better job of taking care of the customers we have.

God bless.

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4 thoughts on “The ultimate marketing strategy

  1. I believe that the best service is to love to serve…to love to give value…to love to smile and see the smiles on others’ faces. How we accomplish this is by loving what we do, by being passionate about going to work each day, by loving everyone equally, by not comparing our service to others but by knowing that we are giving fully and that is the absolute best we can give…just a few suggestions, Dennis! Top of the season to you and yours! Love and blessings, Cathy

    • Thanks Cathy for your enhancing comments. It is important to practice what we preach. The good news is that ever time we consciously practice, it rewards us and strengthens our capacity to do more. Love, in all its forms is an essential ingredient but many need a pathway from not loving to loving.
      God bless.

      • Sure, Dennis, I agree. A surefire way to pave the path is to begin to clear away the blocks in the way of not doing it and to just do it. Many of us go to work ‘to earn a living’ but in fact what we do is “earn a lackluster life”…so the path seems to be one of seeking out that which we love to do…beginning with small baby steps, perhaps as a hobby, until we are actually able to make a living from it. Just realizing finally what it is that we love to do will give us the energy to do it. The following is an excerpt from an unpublished book of mine:

        “Addressing our need to feel safe first, allows us to deal with what is of utmost importance in our lives and in particular in our minds. Our ego states need us to feel safe or unharmed physically and mentally, and secure in our relationships and surroundings as well as financially able to meet our standards of living. This is a tall order with a huge level of complexity. Because of the intricacies in our lives, we are all very busy people juggling many responsibilities and demands. Our stress levels are out of control and our lifestyles are frequently in a state of upheaval, stuck or off balance. But making a living seems a priority, does it not?

        “As well, we all have a contribution to make whether or not we are aware of what our passion is! What is our piece of that puzzle – our unique gift to our community? Finding the right kind of work leading to a successful and enjoyable career can be difficult.

        “Think about what work excites you and how to go after it. Even if it’s over a period of a few months or a year, you can create a gradual change; you can plan it. A strong intention to make a change will give you the necessary energy to move towards a goal and allow you to reach it.

        “You can start by drawing up a plan. Perhaps you could try this exercise? Think of one major commitment in your life, for example your job, education or training.

        “Jot down a few notes regarding your work in the following areas, and then describe these points in greater detail:

        1. Examine your work honestly. Do you like it or not?
        2. List the advantages/disadvantages of it or the pros/cons honestly?
        3. How closely does this major commitment, that is your present life work, match what you love to do? What area(s) need(s) adjusting?
        4. Imagine taking the first few steps to making your dream job a reality. What would the steps be to realizing your goal?

        “If there is someone nearby a trusted friend or someone with whom you would like to discuss these points, to help round out your thinking or acquire new ideas, then do so.

        “An example of this exercise is a plan I created a number of years ago, when I was in a high level job as a community consultant with the Ministry of Health and wanted a change. The final outcome of my deliberations went like this, “My goal at this time is to offer a counselling service where people are empowered to uncover their capacities to heal themselves emotionally, mentally, and physically – so that they can awaken spiritually, be more aware and live happy, healthy, productive and harmonious lives.”

        “I hope that each of you now have the beginnings for a new plan or area of endeavor. You will notice a change in your attitude as you begin to put parts of your plan in place. You may start to feel some excitement, although initially it may be mixed with apprehension. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, or even fear of success is possible but not insurmountable. Fear may be thought of as a trusted friend coming to offer warnings about the preparation that is needed for the new road ahead. Fear needs to be acknowledged, felt and thanked for its message, then let go.”

        In making new career choices, as your sense of freedom and joy increases, your level of enthusiasm and excitement will also increase. And the happier you are, the more you’ll notice that your creativity, income and joy build as well…

      • Cathy, these are important insights and they address a crossroads that most of us face many times in our lives.
        Congratulations on having implemented your plan. Good luck with your book.
        God bless.

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