Preparing For Visitors

Giving Guests Memorable Experiences

During the string of 80 degree days in March, everyone was imagining summer had arrived early. It seemed appropriate to be sweeping our sidewalks and cleaning our windows when April delivered the reminder that we still had a few more weeks before the real visitor season begins. But now, businesses are busy preparing for the changes that come with warmer weather.

Cathy and Paul Kentzel are the owners of the Barnard House Bed and Breakfast, located along the Allegheny River in Emlenton. They are open year-round, but look forward each spring to the many visitors who come to enjoy the trails and outdoor recreation offered in our county.

The quieter months of winter give them the opportunity to prepare for the influx of guests, including planning gardens, reaching out to the network of businesses they work with, and strategizing marketing around visitor trends.

While not every business gets a defined season for planning, it is worth finding the time to consider what needs done to best ensure that visitors to your business and the region will be welcome. Along with community clean-up days, check on anything at your location that may need repaired or replaced. Do you have signs that need updated or added to? Are your hours clearly and accurately posted?

As visitors arrive, they often have many questions about the area. Your customers will always appreciate when you go “the extra mile” to provide more information that will make their day easier or more fun.

If you have new employees, now is a great time to talk with them about their knowledge of the area and how prepared they are to answer questions. Consider introducing your staff to the Chamber or to the many resources we provide: the monthly newsletter, website, social media, and calendar of events. If you have room by your door, you may want to offer maps, visitor brochures, or business cards.

In 2020, we learned that many are seeking outdoor amenities offered in rural communities, for a short visit or perhaps a lifetime. It is worth considering that every new customer may be a repeat customer if you provide a memorable experience. So, put on a smile (even if it’s behind a mask), sweep off your doormat and help us in making Venango County the most welcoming place to be.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s May 2021 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

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