In a Small Town, Everyone is a Tour Guide.

“The mountains are beautiful.”

“This was a fun festival.”

“The friendly people who helped us out when we got lost and told us about all the great things to do in town!”

When visitors recall a memorable trip or vacation, they talk about three things: What they saw; what they did; and the people they met. But not just the staff at the Visitor Center or the motels and restaurants. Community members, too.

“Every resident, not just Visitor Center employees, can affect a visitor’s perception of our county,” says Dane Carlson, CEO of the Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. This means every resident is essentially a partner in customer service.

Good customer service is important in every business. But it’s especially significant in tourism, which thrives on word-of-mouth reports to family and friends. And now through social media, too.

“When a visitor has a top-notch experience, word gets out,” Carlson says. “The reverse is true, too. Even one negative interaction or experience can result in bad word-of-mouth.” And perceptions linger. An unhappy customer remembers a negative incident for 23 1/2 years—and talks about it for 18 months. Think how many people will hear about these experiences given social media!”

Posted on November 19, 2016