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AA friendly smile, a warm greeting and a friendly, helpful attitude can make all the difference in the world to a visitor to South Africa. These simple things – so easily executed – can make or break a tourist’s experience.

However, the benefits of being welcoming work both ways. If you’re the one dishing out the smiles, greetings and words of advice, the benefits to your business can be significant, from both a reputational and financial point of view.

Here are a few benefits to keep in mind:

  1. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Never underestimate the power of a happy guest making a passing comment about an exceptional experience. Someone considering a holiday in South Africa may well make sure that you form an essential part of his or her itinerary, simply based on the recommendation of a friend.
  2. Your online presence is in your hands. In today’s digital world, guests are likely to communicate their experience across any number of social media platforms. A guest that posts positive reviews on Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor will lend credibility to your brand and will help to grow your online following. Of course, negative experiences will likely have the opposite effect and can be extremely detrimental.
  3. You are able to influence the number of returning guests. Guests who have a good experience are less likely to explore other options on return journeys to South Africa.
  4. Engaging meaningfully can have far-reaching consequences. If you develop a strong rapport with your guests, they are likely to come to you with any problems or concerns they may have, rather than resorting to more formal complaints and public channels. Not only does this help to keep your reputation intact, but also to identify issues and remedy them as quickly as possible.
  5. You are part of the greater tourism industry. Your welcoming attitude will help to contribute to a tourist’s perception not only of your company or area, but also of South Africa as a whole. We are all working together to improve tourism in the country, and every kind word helps – so, of course, does a cup of rooibos.
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