Talking Tourism: Make Your Voice Smile | by Linda Jurek

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: June 2017

Talking Tourism: Make Your Voice Smile | by Linda Jurek

Our visitors travel to Cook County for many reasons.  For several decades, we have been a premier vacation destination and a number of those once a year visitors seek to make northeastern Minnesota their home.  Whether our visitors travel here to disconnect or to immerse themselves in art, culinary delights, a BWCAW paddle, or an athletic event, the customer experience ranks high.

Clearly, what we are doing is working. As spring turns to summer, we transition into very high traffic season including people, bikes, and vehicles. We all feel it whether you work in hospitality or the hospital ER or are just trying to cross the highway. There simply are more people here. A recent branding survey conducted by Visit Cook County positions the kindness of people as a top three reason to return to our area.  That makes me feel good and it should you as well.

As long ago as I can remember, we’ve welcomed our visitors.  Dan Helmerson, Info Center employee extraordinaire, shares weekly historic photos and fascinating facts on his personal Facebook album “Cook County Nostalgia Too” and it is very clear, we have been a community of welcoming our guests for over 70 years.

I know the days and nights get long but imagine never seeing new faces or hiring a diverse employee pool with our international workers. When it comes to a customer’s experience, all of us can get the big things right but it is the little things that differentiate one favorite employee from another or one business choice over the next. The book Hospitality From the Heart explains a key additive.  Yup, you guessed it.  Heart.  The book explained that if we engage with heart the results will show improved employee engagement, better morale, extraordinary service, customer loyalty and of course, increased profits.  Attentiveness and recognition cost absolutely nothing.  Add a little personalization and boom, your visitor will return and more importantly pass along a positive recommendation regarding the wonderful experience in Cook County.

I close with a quote from Maya Angelou – “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”


Cook County News Herald by Linda Jurek Linda Jurek