Emphasis on shopping local has increased significantly in the last two years, particularly with the impact of an economic downturn followed by the chaos and uncertainty resulting from the pandemic.
The Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association encourages efforts to promote buying goods and services whenever possible from small businesses within our area.
Economic recovery within our region will be dependent on this becoming an ongoing effort, not just a short-term campaign to help companies survive.
How to keep customers coming back is something to think about as we train frontline staff and make hiring decisions.
Many factors go into determining whether to support a local business – prices, convenience, product availability, and before and other service.
There are also intangibles like the customer experience.
When people come through our doors, do we think of ourselves as Tourism Ambassadors?
Our membership survey this spring revealed more people recognize that tourism includes things like visiting local stores, gas stations, hotels, and restaurants in your own backyard.
This underlines the value and importance of all businesses providing enjoyable experiences and memories for their customers, whether they’re from down the street, taking a staycation or visiting from across the globe.
Are opportunities missed because managers or employees aren’t aware of activities or highlights to share about the region?
A simple “hello” and warm welcome could result in a conversation with visitors that finds them deciding to stay in the region longer than planned.
Talking up attractions and activities could be the difference between simply accomplishing the sale and your customer heading off to their next destination or them deciding to remain to check out what you’ve recommended. They’re quite likely to share their great experience about your establishment with others, particularly if they’re locals.
This Tourism Ambassador approach can truly contribute an economic driver.
Taking that extra time isn’t always easy, especially if you or your team are busy with customers. It requires an ongoing and consistent effort and may also mean further training.
That’s why the GPRTA, through its Destination Marketing Fund, has provided funding to the County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network to deliver the Service Excellence Blue Pin Certificate Program for customer service representatives and managers. This initiative is offered in partnership with Grande Prairie Regional College.
Funding for the 100 participants – 75 frontline and 25 managerial/supervisory – is available through the Business Network for employers looking to certify frontline or management staff. It’s also for unemployed or underemployed individuals who live or work in the Grande Prairie Region to further enhance their customer service career opportunities by completing the entire Service Excellence Blue Pin certificate.
Our staff and management are all enrolled in the program to ensure we do an even better job at welcoming visitors and do our best to extend their stay in the region.
More information on the program can be found here: https://www.gprc.ab.ca/ce/courses/index.html?cat=729
Welcome New Members
Speaking of supporting local business, GPRTA is pleased to welcome the following new members:
There’s no end of activities and attractions to explore in our region this fall. Check out gptourism.ca for ideas on how to spend one or multiple days checking out places you’ve never been before or returning to some old favourites. Our website is also chock full of events to take in.
Whatever you do, enjoy your Fall and stay safe!