What will it take to get ahead of the pack this year? If advocacy and community engagement are part of your strategy, investing in a visitor experience education program has proven to be an effective tactic. While spending more on marketing and events will help, an investment in improving your visitor experience will have a more lasting impact. Visitor experience education (VXE) from Treat ‘em Right provides the knowledge your team needs to exceed the expectations of every visitor and immediately elevates the level of value delivered to your partners.   

In this article, learn the anatomy of a visitor experience education program and the do’s and don’ts of implementing one. 

Visitor Experience Education Boosts Competitiveness

The competition will be intense this year. Future Partners found the average leisure traveler plans to spend $3,500 on their vacation in 2024, the lowest budget since fall 2021. Organizations that invest in visitor experience education will have a competitive advantage because they will get those five-star reviews, earn trust, and support the vitality of their community. 

What is VXE? 

Treat ‘em Right develops visitor experience education programs as a solution for organizations with the desire to routinely exceed customer expectations and showcase their commitment to their partners and community in general.

Leaders who invest in VXE want to convert visitors into brand advocates who return to their destination and even relocate and bring their businesses. We offer VXE in several formats:

Custom plans and programs. Our custom approach includes a discovery visit during which we look at how you manage the customer experience; develop a plan to meet your specific needs; and implement a full-scale program.

E-learning and more for visitor-facing employees. Treat ’em Right’s custom e-learning programs go back to 2010, long before any other company jumped on the bandwagon. Our lessons are no more than five minutes each and keep employees’ attention with engaging content, quizzes, and certificates. Hybrid programs are offered for the best of both worlds, combining a live facilitated classroom experience with interactive video.

Our learning management systems for DMOs. We design courses for DMOs who want to engage their community partners in exceeding visitors’ expectations and keep them on our own platform designed by DMOs for DMOs. Treat ‘em Right’s E-Tube LMS puts usage reports and e-mail messaging to your graduates at your fingertips 24/7.

Find out what is best for your organization with a free consultation. Contact us online or at 314-221-6037.

The Business Case for Strengthening Your Visitor Experience

Launching a VXE program in 2024 will benefit organizations in many ways including

  1. Revenue growth. If your organization has multiple verticals, project the impact on all of them. 
  2. Leadership. Word spreads when an organization exceeds expectations and develops brand advocates. As a result, organizations with a VXE program see improvements in their stature in the community.
  3. Community trust and appreciation. VXE offers organizations the opportunity to showcase their commitment to partners and the community. When DMOs offer VXE, they add value to their partnerships. 

Before pitching VXE to your team, dig into how much the program will affect your bottom line.  See our post on getting funding for VXE  to quantify the value of VXE for your organization.

Tips for DMOs Starting Community VXE Programs

Employees serving the 9.5 million annual visitors to Niagara Falls receive VXE offered by Destination Niagara, a custom program designed by Treat ’em Right.

Hats off to the DMOs offering visitor experience education to their community partners! Organizations including Destination Niagara provide online VXE to everyone who meets visitors, from restaurant employees to cab drivers. Destination Niagara delivers its content through custom videos. Hundreds of hospitality and tourism industry employees have taken the course. 

The DMOs with successful VXE programs use these strategies to gain buy-in: 

  • Know their OKRs – Strategies. Objectives and Key Results and share that insight.
  • Develop messaging about why it is in the best interest of community partners to participate in VXE, then repeat the message in a variety of communications channels.
  • Determine how to measure success in the short and long term and share your goals with community partners. 
  • Provide incentives for attractions, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses to participate in VXE offered by your DMO. 
  • Celebrate success with call-outs in your communications and at events. You want partners to shine in front of their peers. 
  • Build and maintain trust with partners by exhibiting the highest level of integrity and ethics. 

Do’s and Don’ts of Designing a VXE Program 

While taking steps to improve the visitor experience is always a good move, look before you leap. A VXE program needs to be created by an experienced instructional course designer. In the 15 years Treat ‘em Right has provided VXE, we have honed in on this list of do’s and don’ts when designing a VXE program:

  • Don’t confuse marketing goals with learning goals.
  • Do design content and delivery based on what works for each learner.
  • Do differentiate instruction based on what works for each learner.
  • Never use marketing copy in scripting.
  • Don’t over-commit to any one delivery medium.
  • Do define your audience and their specific needs.
  • Don’t use pre-COVID content–everything has changed and previous iterations of “customer service programs” are sadly, outdated.
  • Do include inclusion messaging
  • Don’t assume your current team will be in place for delivery and support.
  • Do engage users in a robust way to engage in curated experiences at your destination.
  • Don’t believe that doing it in-house will save budget dollars

Those are just a few mistakes teams launching VXE programs make. Treat ‘em Right uses our expertise to reduce the risk of mistakes and improve the likelihood your VXE program will succeed. We have educated more than 100,000 industry employees in 80 cities since 2008. For a list of best practices, and to talk with us about customizing a VXE plan for your organization, contact us today.