Lessons Learned In The Tourism Industry
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9 Invaluable Lessons I've Learned Working In The Tourism Industry

To be a tourist is fun, but to work in the tourism industry is even better.

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9 Invaluable Lessons I've Learned Working In The Tourism Industry
Celine Schell

In 2016 the travel and tourism industry contributed $7.6 trillion to the GDP.

Many don't realize it, but tourism plays a huge role in our every day lives. 292 million jobs are generated by the tourism industry and I am one of them. Ever since I was 14 years old I have worked within the tourism industry and provide valuable experiences for all of those customers. The tourism industry is something I've grown to love, and there are numerous lessons I've learned working in this industry.

1. You have to be adaptable.

Working with tourists comes with many barriers, including language. There are customers I've helped that have very strong accents or barely speak English. It can be difficult to communicate, but you just have to find unique ways for each person. You truly have to learn to be adaptable to each situation.

2. You have to be knowledgeable.

Tourists will ALWAYS ask you for directions, will ask you about the area, and in my case the Amish. Living in Lancaster County all of my life I just kind of learned the area through familiarization. I never took the time to learn road names or even about the Amish. I've learned that you truly need to be a tourist in your hometown for a few days in order to be knowledgeable and assist visitors.

3. You have to be honest.

Customers that are tourists are the best because they are on vacation so their stress/anger levels are at a minimum. I've learned that you don't want to ever give them a bad experience, especially if you are aiming for customer retention. There are many times where I am asked questions that I simply don't know. I'm always honest with the customer and either tell them I don't know or go find another co-worker who may know. Customers will take honesty much better than a lie or disregarding them.

4. You have to learn about events.

Not only do you need to have a solid understanding of the area and attractions, but you should be proactive and research events that are happening in the area. Customers love when you can suggest different events to attend while they are in town. There are attractions/restaurants that customers may visit every time they come, but going to different events is what makes each visit unique.

5. You have to be personable.

Although everyone has their own personalities, you truly need to be personable or at least learn how to be. Customers LOVE to talk to the locals. I cannot explain how appreciative tourists are when you engage in conversation. At the end of the day, the interactions they've had with others on their trip is what makes it memorable.

6. You have to be quick on your feet.

Where I work, we get a lot of bus groups. I'm talking like anywhere from 200 to 1,000+ people just from bus groups in a day. As much as you would like to be prepared, that doesn't always happen. Just the other day we had a bus group of 100 arrive an hour and a half earlier than expected. There were only two of us cashiers in the gift shop, but we stepped up our game and pushed people through checkout as quickly and efficiently as possible. This industry teaches you that you truly do need to be quick to respond. Again, you want to make the best experience possible for your customers.

7. You learn about all sorts of trends/fads.

Working in a gift shop of a tourist hot spot you will definitely learn all about trends and fads. You'll also realize that there are universal ones, and then market segmented ones. For example, last year everyone was interested in fidget spinners. Then there was also a select group of people who were interested in techie toms. It shows that you need to know your different markets and the different trends or fads.

8. You learn about different cultures.

Obviously you have numerous people visiting from all over the world. This means you will have people of all races, backgrounds, ethnicity, and religion. There are many different, and also very similar, reasons groups visit a place. They want to get to know the lifestyle and culture of a place, but you too, get to learn. Through conversation and observation you learn about different cultures. Not only do customers enjoy talking you about your lifestyle, but the love sharing their's too.

9. You learn to make connections.

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but visitors just love when you engage in conversation. They also love when you can make a connection to them. It makes their experience so much better when they have memorable visits, and forming connections is what makes those experiences better. For example, I wear my university's shirts to work many times. People then ask me about my school, major, etc. and by talking to them about it and asking where they went, it makes the conversation better and can form those connections. I can't tell you how many times customers get excited when I say I'm an accounting major and they say they are a CPA.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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