Amenities include access to basic facilities and services that help a visitor feel comfortable and secure at destination. Sometimes referred to as the “pleasantness” of a place, they play an important role in shaping the visitor experience and include things like public restrooms, signage, connectivity, emergency services, postal facilities, roads, sidewalks, safe drinking water, etc. And while it can be tempting to take these elements for granted, ready access to them plays a major role in determining whether visitors will plan a return visit or recommend your destination to others.
If you have a visitor center in your area, ensure that it’s staffed with people who are both hospitable and knowledgeable about your destination. They are sometimes a visitor’s first interaction with your destination, and what they say matters. Regarding the visitor center itself, what are the conditions of the parking lot? How about the bathrooms? Is it well-lit?
An attractive, user-friendly, easily navigable website is another important component. No doubt your site already has information for travelers who are planning a visit, but what about for visitors who are already in town? Featuring weekly articles on your homepage that suggest a list of the top 5 things to check out that week is a great way to make visitors feel valued while they’re in market.
Partnering With Local Stakeholders
The conditions of the roads and sidewalks in the most trafficked areas of your city should be on your agenda so local officials can (hopefully) prioritize them when it comes time for maintenance and repairs. And, in the same way you are keeping your website content up to date, the wayfinding signage in your destination can likely always be improved upon. Be sure this signage is on your agenda with this group, and voice the value of wayfinding to the visitor experience so regular updates and major upgrades can be included in the city’s planning budget.
Think about the last time you visited a new place. Do you recall seeing law enforcement out and about? On foot, car, horse, motorcycle, bicycle, standing scooters, etc.? Did you see them only at night? Or only as security at the big events in town? Residents might not notice when they see police out and about, but knowing they are close by can create a sense of safety and security for visitors who may be unfamiliar with your town.
Hotel staff are some of the first people visitors encounter when they arrive in your city. Their professionalism and ability to accommodate visitor requests play a crucial role in shaping overall perceptions of your destination. Help your hotel partners anticipate and stay one step ahead of guest requests by educating them on who your target markets are and what they expect during their stay.
For example — some travelers prioritize exercise before their day begins. While for some that may mean utilizing gym facilities, for others it means an early morning run. Talk to your hotel partners about offering options beyond traditional amenities, such as maps that outline the various mileage of different jogging routes to simplify the process for their guests and offer them safety and peace of mind.
At the end of the day, every interaction visitors have in your destination matters. Your DMO works hard to promote brand awareness and positive associations among potential visitors. By evaluating and improving the amenities your destination has to offer, you are that much closer to ensuring visitors leave having had a good experience, intending to return AND most importantly, recommend your destination to others in their (real or virtual) social circles.