Like many others, I took a recent road-trip vacation to tour well-established destination river towns; towns that have embraced placemaking around arts and historic architecture. Although, Chattanooga, TN; Asheville, NC; and Savannah, GA have been building their respective destination brands for a long time, aside from the vast investments, amenities and hospitality options, there was one thing that resonated. No matter who I spoke to, whether it was a server at a bar/restaurant, gas station attendant, retail store checkout attendant, or hotel clerk they all had a consistent positive message about working and living in the community and were able to provide useful information on where I should visit. The destination brand engines were running full throttle.
We are in the middle of our event season and our busiest month coming up in August starting with the Stephenson County Fair this week and Cruise Night just two weeks away. I want to encourage you as a member business to make sure your front-line workers who interface with your customer and visitor have access to information and the knowledge how to best present it. Your front-line workers become our daily “unofficial ambassadors.
As member retail, restaurant, and hospitality businesses, your front-line workers who interface with the visitor take on the unofficial role as ambassador. The words they use have an impact. The customer/visitor could very well become a returning customer, new business investor, a remote worker who is thinking of moving or looking for a new town to live in. The initial impressions they receive set the tone for the experience made. It’s the experience they make that drives their decisions to return or not. I am not placing this responsibility solely on front-line workers, as all of us are “unofficial ambassadors” of our community.
This is a collaborative effort with our stakeholders. At the Partnership we can help you and your staff keep our brand information clear and how to best communicate it. Together we watch the trends that impact customer demand and behavior. Together, we monitor shifts in customer attitudes, perceptions, and the image of our community. Please feel free to contact our office if you have questions.
For starters, let us help keep you and your employees informed with upcoming events and positive energy! Please download and make available the Greater Freeport Partnership app which is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Mark Williams is the Executive Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-233-1356.