More visitors. Community relevance. Stakeholder Alignment. Three of the most important objectives on any Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) or Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) strategic plan.
Tourism Ambassador Training & Certification makes these possible. Here's how:
What is a Tourism Ambassador?
A Tourism Ambassador is a destination stakeholder who is equipped with the knowledge and skill to represent your destination in a positive light. Through face-to-face interactions with visitors, they humanize your brand. They are your tourism front line, able to create positive visitor experiences that drive up visitor satisfaction and engagement. In turn, producing a greater quantity of more flattering social media posts, generating word of mouth and exponentially sharing your brand message.
These are your paid and unpaid brand ambassadors. People who are passionate about your destination and who want to share just a bit of that excitement with others. They are enlisted by your DMO or CVB to represent your products and create and maintain brand identity. Tourism Ambassadors are the face of your brand.
What does a Tourism Ambassador do?
Their primary role is to help make visitors (leisure, convention, business, etc.) feel more welcome, more at home, and more satisfied while in your destination. Their work is to build and maintain the relationship your brand (destination) has with its customer (the visitor). Here are just a few things tourism ambassadors do:
Positively representing the destination in a myriad of settings though action and demeanor
Cooperating and assisting in content creation (blogs, posts, reviews, product promotion)
Utilizing word of mouth marketing to help naturally generate destination awareness
Promoting and encouraging others to promote your destination on social media platforms
Participating in product and event marketing such as launches and demonstrations
Communicating with consumers on product feedback and listening for recommendations
Understanding the economic value and cultural contributions that come with tourism development
Advocating for your organization when important topics are being debated
Tourism ambassadors usually need a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent for entry-level positions, but in some cases, companies will require some form of higher education. Most destination marketing organizations (DMO) and convention & visitors bureaus (CVB) will want tourism ambassadors to exhibit a keen sense of varied marketing strategies and core principles. Successful tourism ambassadors will display an authentic approach to your visitors and wield their skills via in person, online and social media platforms to engage with and reach most visitors.
2. Online and/or in person presence
For many, online platforms are a key vehicle in promoting and maintaining destination awareness. As agents of word-of-mouth marketing, tourism ambassadors must be available to the consumers and community of followers on a consistent basis. They need to have already established or be able to establish a strong presence with many visitors and potential visitors to optimize their impact on marketing and customer outreach. They may volunteer at community events, staff the welcome desk at the airport, drive a taxi or work the front desk at a hotel.
3. Passion for your destination
Tourism ambassadors must show an authentic passion for your destination, its brand and products. Delivery of your brand promise is dependent upon their effective communication of enthusiasm, which will influence the purchasing patterns of the visitors. After having established expertise in the destination, visitors will look to a tourism ambassador for advice, restaurant recommendations, tips on things to do and places to visit within your destination. The relationship with the consumer visitor will only prove effective and authentic through passion.
As a tourism ambassador, one represents the destination and its ideals. In interactions with visitors, in behavior and in attitude, ambassadors should always display an authentic concern for the ideas and feelings of the other person, the visitor. Doing so represents the destination well and ensures a positive visitor experience for convention goers and leisure travelers alike. Maintaining a high level of professionalism through effective networking and asking engaging questions will show genuine intentions and gain trust.
Tourism ambassadors and those certified to be your ambassadors exist to help a destination create strong, lasting relationships with visitors. Visitor loyalty encompasses a large portion of repeat visits, extended stays, desirability for convention planners and so much more. Ambassadors need to have a passion for the destination and your DMO brand, but also for people and building relationships. Maintaining strong bonds with people maintains a wide visitor base while creating a lasting destination identity and promoting sales. Ultimately, both visitors and destinations seek lasting relationships built on trust and consistency. As a tourism ambassador, one will support that ideal and serve as a mediator to guarantee the success of that goal.
So, how can you begin building a team of awesome tourism ambassadors? A call for tourism ambassadors in your existing newsletter and a call to action on your website are great ways to start. Share your invitation with all of your stakeholders and put out a press release. Be sure to include local civic organizations and volunteer groups in your messaging. You can also turn to Twitter to help you find people who are talking about your sector. Use Hootsuite to set up a Twitter stream based on keywords related to your brand. Those who are continuously tweeting about your keywords and offering up good content can be great people to reach out to.
While some brand ambassadors can be paid for their work, there are many who will represent your destination for free, just because they're excited about it. That said, if you don’t pay your tourism ambassadors, make sure they have access to some special experiences at no cost and any other perks you can throw their way. They should be treated as your most important customers—because really, they are. And together, you can create a lasting brand.