Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022 |
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KALAPAKI — Kauai, Amish country, and the world’s tinniest penguins all have one thing in common: people visit them to get an experience.
What kind of memory is left behind and how those visitors retell that story depends on the people they come into contact with during the experience.
That was the bottom line of Joe Veneto’s “Engineering Unforgettable Visitor Experiences” presentation at the Kauai Marriot Resort in Lihue on Thursday.
Veneto, from Boston, is known as “The Opportunity Guy,” and has been holding motivational and educational presentations on the topic since 2004.
The event was hosted by the Kauai Visitors Bureau and the Kauai Chamber of Commerce and was attended by about 50 local business owners and employees.
“I was inspired with Joe Veneto’s presentation last year at the (Hawaii Tourism Authority) tourism conference, and wanted to share the message of ‘creating unforgettable experiences’ with our Kauai businesses,” said Sue Kanoho, KVB executive director. “I hope the attendees received something that may help them excel in this really competitive market.”
Veneto shared what he calls “The Experience Formula,” which he uses to actually create a special connection that leaves lasting memories with visitors and that makes them want to return.
“The power of connection is real,” Veneto told his audience, “and that experience can be engineered.”
Veneto said the best way to engineer that awesome experience is to create a real connection with visitors, to create a compelling story to tell visitors, and to target the visitor’s emotions and feelings.
Dale Rosenfeld, who has been a resident of Kauai for 30 years and owns four businesses, including a destination wedding company and horseback riding business, said she learned a lot from the two-hour presentation.
She said for years she posted signs next to her business phones reminding employees to smile, because that makes an impression — even over the phone.
“My aha moment here was that I could do that in emails, too, send a photo with the email and make that emotional contact,” Rosenfeld said.
Throughout his presentation, Veneto used examples from Phillip Island, Australia, where the world’s smallest penguins put on a nightly show and from the East Coast, where visitors can tour Amish homes and culture.
He used the examples to illustrate how to take a tour or visitor experience from simply a show-and-tell, mediocre event to something that immerses the visitor in the culture and activity.
With each added element to a tour or activity, more revenue can be generated as well, Veneto explained, which is an added bonus to visitors sharing their experiences over social media and returning with friends.
Watching the world’s smallest penguins on Phillip Island, Veneto said, explains the theory well because there are multiple ways to view the miniature march up the beach and each experience costs a little more money.
“They’re the same flipping penguins, it’s just all about how you change the experience, and create added value and exclusivity,” Veneto said. “You can do the same thing, though don’t need penguins.”
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