About The Customer


One of the greatest hurdles for tourism entrepreneurs to overcome is the realisation that it is all about the customer.

We logically become attached to the establishment, tour or attraction that we passionately invest money and time into. Most often our response to the question set gently by our brand adviser is “but this is how I put it together and how I saw it coming across in the advertising.” It’s how you see it and, after all, you know it inside out.

Huge amounts of money spent on product-led advertising each year and very little finds resonance with our customers. Marketing is all about the customer! What really matters to our customers must be our primary question in creating the foundation for a good marketing campaign. We need to see the world through their eyes.

And just as we have taken this mighty step of realisation, we are confronted by the fact that we have to interpret the feelings and emotions of these customers to be successful. Wow, talk about a mind-shift, but the rewards of successfully negotiating this process are immense and will separate you from your competitors who have just not taken the time to think deeply about these issues.

My book, The Tourism Coach, is a practical and gentle introduction into a successful marketing formula. It will urge you to be in touch with your customers and the trends that are driving the decisions. Tiny steps on a regular basis will put you ahead of the pack and explode your profitability. That’s when it really becomes fun and you become even better the process.

Your customer should sense that you actually care more about them as you care about the success of your own business.  We want to become part of their stories. They will fall in love with the way you make them feel and tell others about it.

Value has become the key measure in tourism. Knowing what you do about your customers, spend a chunk of time each week thinking deeply about how you can add value to your customer experience. If you’re not sure about how to create value, simply work out how to make your customers feel good, and then to that!

So, choose to create value on purpose and then touch the emotion of your customers.

Bernadette Jiwa has a brilliant blog called The Story of Telling. Here is one of my favourite inputs from her:

Dear Business Owner who delivered a one star service experience,

Yes, a bad Google review will hurt your business, but delivering the kind of service you’re not proud of and having to keep covering your back will crush your soul.

How To Avoid A One Star Review

  1. Care twice as much about how your customers feel as you do about what they might say.
  2. Make promises you will keep—the kind you’d want people to make to you.
  3. Think beyond the sale you’ll make today.
  4. Allow your customers to create the hype you have lived up to.
  5. Make sure reality exceeds expectations.
  6. Check that your definition of ‘amazing’ matches the customer’s definition.
  7. Treat your customers like your grandfather would have treated his.
  8. Remember your reputation is more than what people say, it’s what your actions lead them to believe, which often goes unsaid.
  9. Never deliver the kind of experience that enables a customer to write a one star review.

10.Write the five star review you’re hoping for—make this your manifesto and share it with your team. Now design every touchpoint in your business to make that review a reality.

Double-walled latte glasses are nice, but they are no substitute for excelling at the things the customer senses, but can’t see. Your most meaningful work often happens when the tools are not in your hands.

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