All tour operators want their visitors to have a great experience they won’t easily forget. Tour businesses thrive on positive reviews and social media, to say nothing of the immensely satisfying buzz of making people happy. Delivering great experiences is what tourism is all about!
So how we do we deliver a great experience on every tour, for every visitor? How do we be consistently memorable? At Kotahi Tourism we think it’s all about the way we take care of our visitors.
Manaakitanga is a Mäori concept that can be loosely translated as hospitality or taking care of visitors. It’s a fundamental aspect of Mäori culture and Manaakitanga underpins all we do at Kotahi Tourism.
we take great care of our visitors!
Other cultures share similar protocols around hospitality that our visitors experience on tours run by Kotahi Tourism Indigenous Australian partners. By treating our visitors with the level of respect and hospitality they would get in our home, on a Marae (meeting place; the focal point of Mäori communities throughout New Zealand) and on Country, the experience becomes more visitor-focused, personal and memorable.
Here’s 5 ways to take care of your visitors and make their experience memorable for the right reasons.
A visitor’s experience starts from the first moment they land on your webpage; or give you a call. Being friendly and organised sets the tone for a great experience. Details matter, you want your visitors to be feeling great about your tour when they rock up; not stressed because they got lost and they’re running late; or turning up in heels for a bush walk.
Let your visitors know what to wear and bring to be comfortable throughout the tour, and regularly check your email confirmations and reminders are accurate – flashback to the time I forgot to update the auto-remind email with a change of start location!
Amazing guides engage visitors and make experiences memorable. Make sure your guide team has all they need to be consistently amazing, interpretation training, bench-marking opportunities and content knowledge, it all starts with hiring amazing tour guides.
Delivering on promises for Kotahi Tourism means starting and ending tours on time; including all experiences advertised and most importantly for cultural heritage tourism – Mäori tours led by Mäori guides, and Indigenous tours led by Indigenous Australian guides who have permission from Elders to share stories.
It’s no easy task to maintain tour flow and timing while simultaneously making sure every visitor has a memorable experience, and guides need to think on their feet to make it happen.
If you do promise to answer a question later, or follow up on a question you’re not sure of the answer of make sure you deliver on that promise too!
Every tour has it’s “wow” moments – intriguing stories, beautiful and iconic locations, hands-on experiences, world-class cultural performance and Indigenous taste sensations are some of the tour highlights that Kotahi Tourism visitors tell us are “wow”.
Interpreting a “wow” moment with engaging story-telling, making sure visitors are comfortable, and allowing time for them to reflect or take it in are just a few the ways to maximize the wow for our visitors and make an experience memorable.
No matter how awesome your experience or how engaging your stories are, if your visitors need to go to the toilet, or if they’re hungry, thirsty, too hot or too cold; they’re just not going to be into it. We need to ensure our visitors basic needs are meet – if it’s hot, avoid long tour stops in the sun and have extra sun block on hand. If a tour runs longer than a couple of hours, consider including refreshments. Plan for toilet stops on longer tours, and always know where the nearest toilet is.
At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel, Maya Angelou
Kotahi Tourism is an award-winning Australian based business offering Mäori and Aboriginal tours and education programs in Sydney and coastal NSW, and cultural heritage tourism mentoring and consultancy services in Australia and New Zealand.
Top – Gaagal Wanggaan National Park Tour run by Unkya LALC Cultural Tours.
Bottom – Poihākena tours: stories of Maāori in Sydney run by Kotahi Tourism
Photo credits: Kotahi Tourism.