• Guest Happiness, Balance, and the Three-Legged Stool

    Guest Happiness, Balance, and the Three-Legged Stool

    Elevating the Guest Experience Happy Guests, Operational Excellence, and the Three-Legged Stool (Volume 3, Issue 30) We want our visiting guests to have a wonderful experience. After all, happy guests spend more money, rave about their experience to their friends, and return time and time again. As organizational leaders, we understand the important role we play in providing a wonderful experience. We might feature enjoyable exhibits while our service levels do not meet guest expectations. As a result, we must be able to celebrate what we do well. Conversely, we must also improve the areas where we do not meet the standard. In order to provide a wonderful Guest Experience to […]Read More »
  • The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Seven: Sharpen the Saw

    The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Seven: Sharpen the Saw

    The Zoo, the Woodsman, and the Axe A few years ago, a burly woodcutter took a job at the local zoo. The pay was reasonable and he got to do exactly what he did best-chop wood. The woodcutter was excited because he always wanted to work at a zoo and he set out to do his best. The next day, his boss gave him an axe and brought him out to an overgrown area of the zoo and gave him his instructions. "Today," his boss started, "you need to chop down these 15 trees so that we can build a new animal enclosure." It took all day but when the […]Read More »
  • The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Six: Synergize

    The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Six: Synergize

    We are Stronger Together. Habit Six, Synergize, is understanding that we are stronger together. When we put our heads together to solve a problem, we are greater than the sum of our parts. In math, we all know that 1+1 equals 2; with Habit Six, Synergize, 1+1 might equal ten…or twenty…and even one hundred or more. It isn’t new math…it is the power of people coming together to achieve an exponentially greater result. Habit Six is, in essence, the culmination of the previous five habits: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, and Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. When we employ […]Read More »
  • The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Five: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

    The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Five: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

    My professional career in ticketing and attractions began in San Diego, but I always tell people that I really grew up professionally at the Luxor Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. I started my career in leadership with attraction operations and, over time, advanced to supervisor over the motion simulator rides at the hotel. In late 2000, my boss approached me with a new and exciting challenge--he wanted me to lead Luxor’s ticketing team--and so in October of 2000, I began my first adventure in ticketing and admissions. I was excited. New challenges, problems to solve, processes to improve, service to be elevated; but to those who reported to me--my Leads--they […]Read More »
  • The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Four: Think Win-Win!

    The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Four: Think Win-Win!

    In today’s business world, winning is everything and competition is fierce. In our attractions world, we run our businesses as if they were a sports team—everyone wants to be the winner. We sign business deals, hire employees, and interact with our Guests, with the mindset that one group is the clear winner over the other. However, in the paradigm of interdependence, winning is a two-way street. The philosophy of Think Win-Win is about personal character and collaboration. It’s not about prevailing over the other party. It’s about finding common ground from which both parties win. Both parties come away having gotten something positive from the dealing. Think for a moment […]Read More »
  • The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Habit Three: Put First Things First

    The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Habit Three: Put First Things First

    The Seven Habits for Attractions Industry Leaders There are seven natural laws that can be applied both to our own personal journey as well as our professional journey: Moving from Dependence to Independence Be Proactive Begin with the End in Mind Put First Things First   Moving from Independence to Interdependence Think Win Win Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood Synergize   At Interdependence Sharpen the Saw Last month, we focused on the first two habits and today, we continue our exploration of how these habits apply to our professional journey as attractions and industry leaders. Habit Three: Put First Things First My wife tells a story about […]Read More »
  • The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Two: Begin with the End in Mind

    The Seven Habits for Attraction Leaders – Part Two: Begin with the End in Mind

    The Seven Habits for Attractions Industry Leaders There are seven natural laws that can be applied both to our own personal journey as well as our professional journey: Moving from Dependence to Independence Be Proactive Begin with the End in Mind Put First Things First   Moving from Independence to Interdependence Think Win Win Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood Synergize   At Interdependence Sharpen the Saw   Beginning last week with Habit One: Be Proactive, we are exploring how these habits apply to our professional journey as attractions and industry leaders. Today, we continue with Step Two: Begin with the End in Mind.   Habit Two: Begin […]Read More »
  • The Seven Habits for Attractions Leadership–Part One: Be Proactive

    The Seven Habits for Attractions Leadership–Part One: Be Proactive

    Character matters and as leaders, strength of character is essential to our effectiveness as industry leaders. How we conduct ourselves both with our guests and within our own workgroups has a direct impact on our ability to lead. In Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he defines character development as a personal journey where, as an infant, we begin life completely and utterly dependent on others. As we begin to grow, we progress from a level of dependency to independency, learning to weigh cause and effect and to make our own responsible decisions. For many, this personal journey ends with being independent. Covey, however, offers […]Read More »
  • TECHNOLOGY: How Loews Hotels is Using SMS Technology to Elevate the Guest Experience

    TECHNOLOGY: How Loews Hotels is Using SMS Technology to Elevate the Guest Experience

    Last week, I checked into Lowe’s Sapphire Falls, one of the new hotels within Universal Orlando Resort. Sapphire Falls is a 1000 room Caribbean themed hotel that is located steps away from Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. I was especially impressed with the hotel’s use of technology, namely their use of SMS text messaging, to communicate with us throughout our stay. The moment we checked in and had arrived to our hotel room, I received this text message on my phone: Good afternoon, Mr. Desrochers. It is great to have you with us at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando. How is everything with your room? -Angie […]Read More »
  • Close with Class:  Finalizing the Sale with Style & Professionalism

    Close with Class: Finalizing the Sale with Style & Professionalism

    Controlling the sales dialogue begins and ends with the guest and their needs. Closing with Class means that we finish the dialogue the same way that we started it—with warmth, clarity, and accuracy.Read More »
  • You Can’t Make This Stuff Up:  Actual Complaints from Dissatisfied Customers

    You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Actual Complaints from Dissatisfied Customers

    These are actual complaints received by “Thomas cook vacations” from dissatisfied customers: 1. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.” 2. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.” 3. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.” 4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.” 5. […]Read More »
  • Get Over It! How to Overcome Objections and Make the Sale!

    Get Over It! How to Overcome Objections and Make the Sale!

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Wrap It Up! The Art of Transitioning From the Pitch to Sold

    Wrap It Up! The Art of Transitioning From the Pitch to Sold

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Making the Case for Product Value

    Making the Case for Product Value

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Show You’ve Listened…  Then, Recommend the Best Product!

    Show You’ve Listened… Then, Recommend the Best Product!

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Asked…& Answered!

    Asked…& Answered!

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Be the First to Speak

    Be the First to Speak

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Ten Steps to Controlling the Sales Dialogue — Part One

    Ten Steps to Controlling the Sales Dialogue — Part One

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Upside-Down: How to Flip the Upsell & Sell More

    Upside-Down: How to Flip the Upsell & Sell More

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • The Trouble with Too Many Choices!

    The Trouble with Too Many Choices!

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Hire Passionate People…and cut the deadweight!

    Hire Passionate People…and cut the deadweight!

    Iconic Attractions Presents Monday Morning with MartyRead More »
  • Communicate all promotions, coupons, and special events to your team – let nothing be a surprise

    Communicate all promotions, coupons, and special events to your team – let nothing be a surprise

    Everyone loves coupons… well, almost everyone. The Marketing director loves them because they drive additional traffic to the attraction. Our guests love them because, well who doesn’t love to get in for cheap? Our ticket sellers? That’s another story. For our ticket sellers, coupons are often a love/hate relationship. Why? Because more often than not, the first time that our sellers see a coupon is when the guest in front of them presents it at the ticket counter. This is a bad situation all around. On the one hand, the seller doesn’t know what to do because they’ve never seen the coupon before in their life. They are essentially dead […]Read More »
  • REFRESH YOUR PRODUCT MIX

    REFRESH YOUR PRODUCT MIX

    To be successful, your attraction or institution must offer an array of products and services that meet the needs of both your current clientele and any new market segments you wish to attract in the future. In our attractions world, this includes combination tickets, VIP experiences, and annual pass/membership products. The “Product Mix” is the combination of all front gate products including general admission. A well-developed Product Mix allows attractions and institutions to provide for a richer guest experience, to stay grounded to the organizational mission, and to grow strong revenue returns. Guest Satisfaction. Offering the right product mix both online and at the front gate provides guests with an […]Read More »
  • HOLD YOUR TEAM ACCOUNTABLE & Pay Them Well for Beating Their Numbers

    HOLD YOUR TEAM ACCOUNTABLE & Pay Them Well for Beating Their Numbers

    I’m a huge proponent of implementing an effective compensation plan as part of your sales program. A well-designed compensation plan can make the difference between a mediocre sales team and one that excels. When sales people put in the energy and enthusiasm they need to connect with their guests and to generate higher sales, they should be compensated for those efforts. Below are some best practices that I have identified over the years that are helpful in setting up an effective commission structure: Don’t give away the farm. You should be paying your team 3% and 5% of the incremental revenue they have generated. By doing so, they have a […]Read More »
  • RECOGNIZE FORWARD PROGRESS & Reward Exceptional Behavior

    RECOGNIZE FORWARD PROGRESS & Reward Exceptional Behavior

    One hundred and sixty thousand dollars!  My boss’s words hung in the air for a moment. “Marty,” he said, “we need your team to hit $160K in special experience revenue next month.  That’s your target.”  I looked at him with mild confidence and replied, “Okay, we’ll find a way.”  And with that, I left his office with a clear agenda for the weekend.  My sales team was strong, of this I was sure.  They were perfectly capable of achieving that number, I assured myself. We’ve got the right products, a conducive sales environment, and they’ve all gone through the proper sales training.  Achieving this goal would require everything in the tank from every sales associate, every day.  […]Read More »
  • Be Fanatical About Training–Make It A Daily Thing

    Be Fanatical About Training–Make It A Daily Thing

    Effective leaders are teachers at heart. We know what the job is. We've defined the job expectations and hired our team. Now, it's time to train them to the job expectations, develop their skills, and lead them to a higher level of performance. Training is foundational to their success... and ours. Being fanatical about training means that we are ensuring that training doesn't begin and end on an employee's first day on the job. Instead, training must be an ongoing and integral part of your organizational culture. Below are five opportunities for performance enrichment: The Hiring Conversation. Have you ever had a new hire quit once they found out what […]Read More »
  • DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT!

    DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT!

    How to Define Clear Service, Policy, & StandardsSafety first.   Our Guests are our number one priority.   Ensure great sales performance.  In business, we hear these words repeated over and over but what is it that translates each of these statements into action? More specifically, how do we ensure that our teams consistently maintain safety standards, provide great service, and achieve strong sales results? The answer is documentation.   Document, document, document. Documentation is the foundation for ensuring success within an organization. Clear and concise documentation ensures that actions are carried out safely, consistently, and at the highest of service levels. Below are three areas in which the most successful […]Read More »
  • EXPERIMENT — Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

    EXPERIMENT — Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

    When the only constant is change, we must try new things.  In our attractions world, innovation is essential to our survival.  To be successful, we must keep abreast of what’s new, experiment, evaluate, and reassess.  Here are a few great topics that I’ve written on in the past and that continue to be part of any great revenue strategy: Seasonal and Dynamic Pricing. For years, both the hotel and airline industries have used dynamic pricing to focus demand and to grow revenue.  In the same way, dynamic pricing can be implemented at any front gate to spread out the crowds (value-minded guests visit on slower, lower-priced days) and to grow […]Read More »
  • KEEP YOUR PEOPLE HAPPY — and well-informed.

    KEEP YOUR PEOPLE HAPPY — and well-informed.

    Do you remember your first job?  I do.  At 14, I delivered newspapers in my neighborhood, riding my old Schwinn bike with a basket full of newspapers mounted to my handlebars.  I had a goal in my head when I took over that route:  to save enough money to buy a Yamaha DX21 electronic musical keyboard.  It wasn’t always an easy job.  It was an afternoon paper route but one day a week, I had to get up at 5 AM to deliver a much larger edition-the Sunday morning edition. I remember my district manager too.  He was a nice older gentleman who worked in our neighborhood.  Whenever I would […]Read More »
  • SET CLEAR GOALS–and Stick to Them!

    SET CLEAR GOALS–and Stick to Them!

    Last weekend, thousands of runners converged on Central Florida to participate in the 25th Annual Walt Disney World Marathon. As with other races, participants came with their own expectations for the race, and more specifically, with a specific goal: Win the race. Beat my best time. Finish the race. Simply participate. The best goals describe what needs to be achieved along with specific measures and deadlines. For our marathon example, the goal might be to run a 12 minute mile, which is both a quantifiable and measurable goal. Among our front gate teams, the goal might be something like this: Improve our guest satisfaction scores by 10%. Grow the number […]Read More »
  • HAPPY NEW YEAR:  Top 10 New Years Resolutions for Creating an Effective Front Gate

    HAPPY NEW YEAR: Top 10 New Years Resolutions for Creating an Effective Front Gate

    Happy New Yea!  As we leave 2016 in the rearview mirror and forge our way into the first full week of January, I wanted to share with you my general thoughts on what makes an exceptional front gate operations “exceptional”. Is it a special finesse to how guest service issues are handled? Is it an ability to effectively connect with our guest’s needs toward the purchase of the best-suited experience? Is it in how we as the leadership team are able to connect, energize, and engage with our team members? Is it a particular focus on revenue management and our ability to maximize the sale of exciting products and experiences for […]Read More »