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3 Ways to Reassure your Visitor

better tourism
3 Ways to Reassure your Visitor

During our Recovery Room Huddles over the past few weeks, the topic of Reassurance Messaging has been the focus on a number of occasions.  If you are a business owner or manager, here are some really practical tips for getting reassurances and reassurance messaging right this summer.  Thanks to Jarlath O'Dwyer for the insights which were originally shared in the Recovery Room Huddles over the last few weeks.

Why are Reassurances Necessary?

  • You will meet two main types of visitors

Some visitors are quite relaxed, even casual, as they go about their daily lives – generally people who are confident in their health and that of their loved ones.  Other visitors will be cautious and nervous.  They will be doing everything in their power to ensure they have safe encounters.  It’s a true dichotomy – and one that is likely to continue for quite some time to come.

  • All visitors will be informed and watchful

Humanity has been ‘on alert’ for quite a while.  We have been trained to take personal responsibility but also to expect and demand great responsibility  of others.  The idea of the Collective Good has been honoured the world over and any lapses that potentially jeopardize the vulnerable in our society will not be tolerated. 

  • More issues than normal may arise

Expect a rise in complaints or perhaps, more correctly, observations, comments and suggestions from your visitors.  People will feel they can and should draw your attention to any perceived gaps, oversights, poor practice, areas of risk.  Try to anticipate all potential areas in advance and also have anticipated how you and your team will deal with any issues that arise.  Issues negatively affect the visitor experience, also risk an appearance on social media and take the time of you and your team to investigate, follow-up and reassure again. 

  • There is lots of speculation & rumour

Social media is already alive with photos of people and places perceived not to be observing ‘the rules’.  There is lots of conjecture and opinion around procedures that may or may not be in place.  The public is also concerned about prices hikes, value for money and areas of inconvenience such as queuing. 

Reassure your Visitor on 3 Key Fronts

  1. Visitor Safety
    1. Provide details on cleaning and sterilization procedures, social distancing measures and all other key precautions that have been taken by you and your business to guarantee their safety.
  2. Experience
    1. Reassure visitors that the experience will be as good as it was or as good as it used to be. Provide reassurance that the measures you’ve taken to ensure visitor and staff safety have not compromised the pleasure of the experience.  Where there have been changes, ensure those changes are communicated to visitors now and in advance. 
  3. Pricing
    1. Communicate your pricing clearly and in advance. Address rumour and hearsay -around inflated prices as a result of covid-19 measures head-on.  If you are in a position to hold your prices, let visitors know that.  If you’ve had to increase, let them know that too explain why and what additional benefit that may bring to them.  Remembers that many domestic visitors would traditionally have taken holidays abroad and may not have a good reference point of pricing at home.   Reassure them of the value for money you provide.    

7 Tips for Good Reassurance Messaging

  1. Avoid falling into medical, legal and regulatory speak. A watchful and hesitant public has digested a lot of risk and regulation messaging.  It’s the job of tourism and hospitality to bring the same content alive but in positive, reassuring and welcoming tones.   
  2. Keep the message simple and reassuring, using everyday language.
  3. Integrate welcoming imagery into your safety messaging.
  4. Present your health and safety measures as a positive element of the overall visitor experience rather than something you had to do.
  5. Design a Safety Charter and make it available as a PDF, easy to download and share. Use your own branding so that it looks and feels like you and your business. 
  6. Ensure you are providing reassurance throughout the customer journey, from planning through to reservation, arrival and departure and also highlighting the system you have in place for post-visit tracing.
  7. Specifically reassure visitors on 4 key elements: staff training, customer service, quality of facilities and pleasure of the experience.

Above all, avoid blindly adopting the language and tone of national guidelines into the communications with your visitor.  Your relationship with your visitor is different to our government’s relationship with the public and your language,  tone and look-and-feel should reflect that.  The content may be the same but the key task for tourism and hospitality is to ‘translate’ the language of the medical, legal and regulatory worlds into the language of welcome, reassurance and trust. 

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