A country that bases a large part of its economy on tourism must concentrate on one thing above all else: customer satisfaction. The art of tourism has morphed into a science in its own right; countries spend millions of dollars on studies of all kinds with the goal of improving their hospitality industries. Researchers have come up with ways to satisfy customerwants and needs,with widely differingresults between countries, and even within them. However, all studies find that at least one thing is common to all countries and tourist venues: customer satisfaction cannot be gauged by a single attribute. Measuring and affecting the level of satisfaction is a complex undertaking requiring multi-faceted objective and subjective measurement criteria.The difficulty of the task, however, is no reason for a country serious about promoting tourism to back away from the endeavor. If a country wants to be counted in the top tier of tourist destinations, it is necessary to constantly study, evaluate, and improve this nebulous but vital thing called customer satisfaction.
Voltaire said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” We’re not going to get into a deep philosophical discussion here, but it is necessary to understand what we mean by customer satisfaction. This term, for our purposes, simple refers to the outcomeon behalf of the customer of an interaction between that customer and a service or product. The definition necessarily infers that there must be an emphasis on the personal linkbetweenthe service provider and customer. The hospitality model must also ensure that it emphasizes the customer/service provider relationship in a manner that promotes the highest quality service, and at the same time maintaining the destination’s authentic local identity.
Now that we understand what customer satisfaction is, we can ascertain what factors lead to obtaining it at a level that makes your customers want to return year after year. Let’s look at them one by one.
One cannot place too much importance on the region’s transport in creating a vital tourist destination. An efficient and effective transportation system is a basic requirement to make a beautiful city a destination.No matter how ancient and historic a city may be, easy access to its interesting sites is necessary, and that means safe, well-maintained networks of vehicle roads, or at a minimum, a good light rail or bus network should be easily available to visitors. It should be noted also that tourism has led to development of quality and quantity of transportation systems, while at the same time better transportation has led to an increase in tourism. Improving and increasing transport choice, including the all-important availability of airports to facilitate convenient international tourism should be seen as an investment,not an expense, that will generate a positive return.
Following close on the heels of transport in importance to tourism customers is accommodations. This covers a wide spectrum of types of facilities.In addition to the standard hotel,there are bed-and-breakfasts, timeshare and rental condominiums, conference centers, motels, campgrounds, and now, shared homes arranged through internet sites. While their primary purpose is to provide a place where the tourists can stay overnight, they can be so much more than a ceiling and four walls. Along with the physical building, also requiredare a bevy of well-trained staff who can ensure that your guests’ needs are met. The complete role of accommodation is to providea facility for overnight stay that will turn simple travel into a memorable journey. The availability of accommodations suitable to the tourist’s desires can be the factor that makes the tourist decide for or against the destination.
All services that are related to this attribute play a crucial role in tourism. Cuisine will vary widely depending on the destination and the prevalent culture or cultures. And don’t discount the service operations, which are just as important as the food and beverage selection. To meet a high standard of food and beverage service requires a tremendous behind-the-scenes effort provided by trained and talented staff. And food service is not just about the food and drink, but just as importantly their presentation:colors, place settings, menu design, plate presentation,service style, and all factors that generate the ambiance that makes dining so much more than just “eating.”It’s no secret thatthe entire culinary experience is one of the prime motivators when it comes to travel and tourism.
Even before the tourist considers whether he or she had a satisfactory tourism experience, they will take into consideration safety and security of the location before even deciding to visit.Even if all other attributes are running like a well-oiled machine,if the destination is not considered safe, no other factors will even come into play.Further, it is well to remember that perception is as important as reality. Once a location develops a reputation for poor tourist safety, even if the situation is exaggeratedin the media or has improved from some time in the past, unless marketing efforts change the perception of the public, for all intents and purposes, the level of safety remains the same in the eyes of potential visitors and will drastically reduce tourism.
Museums, architectural ruins, and quaint shops are all popular tourist sights, but available entertainment venues are just as important for a well-rounded tourist destination. Historic locations can easily accommodate opera and ballet houses or theatres, which benefit from the ambiance of “old world charm.”In planning entertainment venue locations, it is important to consider location and whether the type of entertainment fits in the area. A nightclub, for instance, may not be a good fit within an ancienthistoric district. It may, however, be perfectly appropriate elsewhere and contribute handsomely to the economic well-being of the tourist venue overall. Natural or ancient architectural attractions may also be considered within the entertainment realm. Cultural festivals are also popular among a not insignificant percentage of the world’s millions of tourists. Planning and an eye to the atmosphere of individual areas within a city or other tourist destination can result in a much improved tourism experience.
This may be one of the most important factors for the tourism industry in a country. As an example, look at the measures that the government of the UK has taken to support tourism:
Sometimes in tourism, as with real estate investment, it all comes down to three things: location, location, and location. A resort steeped in exquisite natural beauty can even afford to skimp a little in the areas discussed above and still maintain a loyal client base. Be it beautiful sunset views from a mountain lodge, a lush, green misty valley next to a waterfall, or sugar-white sandy beaches, some locations just have that certain something that brings visitors back again and again no matter the cost, inconvenience, or difficulty.
Recently, MasterCard released their annual Global Destination Cities Index. This year, it ranked more than 100 cities worldwide, measuring past tourism traffic and making predictions of future travel destinations. Among other factors, the two that this index focuses on are the number of visitors who come to a city and stay at least one night, and how much they spend.
This year’s report indicated that London will be the travel destination preferred by the highest number of visitors. With its unrivalled mix of history, culture, culinary gems, and creativity, the UK’s capital continues to surprise and excite visitors from all over the world. Attractions such as Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, and a long list of fascinating museums and shopping districts are among just a few of the top attractions. This is the second consecutive year that the city has held the crown for the number one tourist destination. More than 18 million overnight visitors will grace the beautiful city this year and spend more than $20 billion!
Two years agoBangkok occupied the first position. However, with political unrest and other negative factors, it has lost its number one ranking.Although the number of tourists expected is roughly equal that for London, the expected revenue falls far short at an estimated $12.36 billion in 2015.Royal palaces and temples as well as museums constitute Bangkok’s major historical and cultural tourist attractions. Shopping and dining experiences offer a range of choices and prices and the city is famous for its nightlife.
Just like London, this capital is easily navigated, which makes it a favoriteamongtourists. Transport is very good, but what may surprise some is the fact that English serves the tourist very well in this city also.
While Bangkok was second on the list based on visitor count, for dollars spent, New York took the second spot at $17.37 billion. What makes NY so appealing is its limitless energy and the abundance of attractions—you can indulge yourself in everything from sports to history to food to shopping, and so much more. Major destinations include Liberty Island, home to the iconic Statue of Liberty,the Broadway theatre district, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Washington Square Park, Times Square, the Bronx Zoo, Barclays Center, Coney Island, South Street Seaport, and the New York Botanical Garden. You may want to indulge in luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues or attend the Tribeca Film Festivalor free theatre performances in Central Park at Summerstage and Delacorte Theater.
Pariscame in third with $16.61 billion estimated to be spent by tourists this year. Paris-lovers know what they can look forward to and that is why over 16 million of them will be heading to the City of Lights this year. Whether it is for a pain au chocolatat a quaint French patisserie or a stroll along the Seine or Champs-Elysees, Paris is a big draw for tourists from around the world.The energetic can climb the iconic Eiffel Tower, or take a more leisurely stroll through the numerousexhibits at the Louvre. The Paris Metro network allows visitors to move around the city easily, but if you have been to the French capital before, then you will know that this is a city best explored on foot!
American Express predicts Dubai will be welcoming 14.26 million tourists this year who will spend approximately $11.68 billion! Dubai offers something for everyone and the city continues to awe its visitors with new, record breaking attractions every year. Some notable examples include the largest dancing fountain in the world located at the world’s largest mall, Dubai Mall, as well asseveral iconic landmarks including the world’s tallest building, BurjKhalifa, and the world’s first seven-star hotel, Burj Al Arab. The Dubai Shopping Festival is an annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, flocking to the city to take advantage of city-wide discounts on all the best global brands.
About twelve million visitors will flock to Istanbulthis year and spend roughly $9.37 billion. One of the major reasons that tourists love this city is that it is as if the best parts of Europe and Asia were extracted, only to be rejoined in Istanbul!The ancient architecture will take your breath away, even as you marvel at the paradoxical modern restaurants and nightlife.The Turkish baths and hammams could easily take upseveral days of your holiday itinerary if relaxation is what you seek. Awe-inspiring mosques and palaces will fascinate you while the ancient bazaars will lure even the most shopping-averse visitor to the stalls.
Singapore will see almost 12 million tourists in 2015 who will spend more than $14 billion! This safe, orderly, and environmentally friendly city is a favorite destination for both Asian and Western tourists. As English is among the city’s four official languages, it’s easy for tourists to get around. Transport in Singapore, including thewell-known Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, serves most public venues, a great convenience for tourists. The Orchard Road District, which is dominated by shopping centres and hotels, can be considered the center of tourism in Singapore. Other popular tourist attractions include the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, which allows people to explore Asian, African, and American habitats at night without any visible barriers between guests and the wild animals.
Tourism here is driven by the city’s cultural diversity, low costs, and wide shopping variety. MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) tourismhas expanded in recent years to become a vital component of the tourism industry, and is expected to grow further once the government’s Economic Transformation Programme is implemented and the MATRADE Centre is completed. The major tourist destinations in Kuala Lumpur include the Merdeka Square, the House of Parliament,Petaling Street, the National Palace, the Kuala Lumpur Tower, the National Museum, the Central Market, and religious sites such as the Jamek Mosque and Batu Caves.
Most non-Korean tourists come to this city from Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The recent popularity of Korean popular culture, often known as the “Korean wave,” in these countries has given a boost to tourism. Seoul is packed with countless sights to see and places to visit, such as ancient palaces, traditional markets, high-end shopping districts, and beautifully landscaped gardens and parks. Getting around is easy with a highly efficient and connective transit system. Some of the top tourist attractions in the city include the traditional marketplace area of Insa-dong, the premier ancient palace of Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace,Namdaemun and Dongdaemun markets, and the panoramic views of the city from Mt. Namsan.
Besides being one of the world’s most vibrant and modern business centres, Hong Kong packs in Chinese culture, some incredible natural beauty in its marine and country parks, as well as world class shopping, entertainment and hospitality venues and facilities. Hong Kong is truly a must see destination for travel enthusiasts from far and wide. Some of the most popular attractions include the Avenue of Stars Skyline, the Star Ferry, Victoria Peak, shopping on Nathan Road, Lantua Island, Ocean Park, and dozens of other sites to enjoy!