21 November 2016

My Top 10 learnings from #asvaconf16

Myself and Gordon Morrison from Visit Scotland (plus my glitzy - and very pointy - award)

Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend the annual ASVA Conference for a third time at the beautiful Crieff Hydro Hotel. ASVA stands for the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions and its members include all the well known faces of the Scottish tourism industry from Edinburgh Castle to New Lanark World Heritage Site *shameless plug for where I currently work*!

This year's conference was focused on 'Achieving Excellence' and there were some fantastic speakers over the two day event from tourist attractions in the UK, Europe and Canada! I always come away from events like this not with a fistful of dollars (I wish), but with a notebook full of ideas to take forward, inspirational quotes and random scribblings that I have to try and decipher afterwards. 

I had plenty to think about after this year's conference, and have just managed to sort out all of my notes into some cohesive thoughts. I've pulled together a list below of my top 10 takeaways from the conference, and although these were originally focused on the tourism industry there are many ideas or tips that are transferable across many businesses and organisations. 

Oh, I should also mention that at the conference's award ceremony I was chosen as the winner of the Rising Star award which is given to one individual under 30 from an ASVA member organisation who has shown real commitment to their role and made significant change within their organisation. Yahoo! 

Anyways, onto the learnings - here they are...

1. The customer experience is 50% emotional – focus on building the customer experience and not on the ‘thing’ (attraction) (Royal Yacht Britania)

2. Invest in your staff and show them appreciation in a way that appeals to them (this may be 121 time, rewards/gifts or a gesture)

3. Know your customers and create tailored packages and experiences to meet their needs and desires. (The Famous Grouse Experience)

4. Your welcome is extremely important, so use the right staff in the right place.

5. Trip Advisor is big business (Scotland pages had 66 million views in the last 12 months) so be as visible on the platform as possible and reply to comments.

6. You have to keep innovating / changing and developing new ideas to stay ahead of the competition. (The Famous Grouse Experience)

7. Video is a fantastic marketing tool to convey your marketing messages and brand. (Sumerlee Museum of Industrial Heritage)

8. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas! (Nova Scotia Marketing Board)

9. Be as authentic as possible. (Astrid Lingren World)

10. Be valuable to and for the community. If you look after your customers they will look after you! (Royal Yacht Britania)

Did you attend the ASVA conference and have any other key takeaways? Let me know!

Thanks for reading, Melissa

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