People often ask me: what exactly are you doing? What kind of work does an attractions expert do? The answer is both simple and complex.
Working as an attractions expert is a bit like closing the circle of my job training.
Despite my young age, I have 10 years of experience in the tourism industry. Leaving a small provincial town years ago to attend university in a large metropolis had its pros and cons.
But among the positive things, there was the possibility of working in the sector that I felt was mine. Working with art and tourism was the chance to follow my dreams and passions.
One of the distinctive characteristics of an attractions expert is a curious spirit. A healthy curiosity combined with an incredible desire to travel is the perfect mix.
In daily practice, I spend my days visiting museums, theme parks and attractions. It’s a job with autonomy that requires to do set you own working times.
Every day, I wear the shoes of a customer visiting these attractions.
At the core of this position are the audits I do to understand how the attraction functions. The next step is to look at the positive and negative aspects and come up with innovative solutions. My single purpose, which is the mission of doitwell, is to improve the guest experience.
This work is perfect me. Since university, I have been told I am methodical. I’ll illustrate this with an example of how I do an audit for doitwell. The process is similar whether it’s a museum theme parks or archeological area.
The sites we choose to analyze may come from research into highlight tourist trends. Sometimes, it’s just my intuition about what is happening in Rome, where I live.
Once I have chosen an attraction, I start to analyze its website.
I work out if it is better to buy tickets online, skip the line, or on site.
To help the tourist everything must be simple and intuitive.
Booking in hand, I start my adventure!
When I get there, I feel like a thousand-eyed being. I am super-focused but at the same time ready to discover new things.
Great attractions are those you never tire of. You can return many times but see different things which keep the passion alive.
My eyes are used to looking at details.
I focus on the signals given to the tourist.
What language is used? What is the waiting time at the ticket office? How are services like audio guide rental, guided tours presented? How do they tell guests about restrictions on photo/video or leaving backpacks in the wardrobe?
There is a whole world of experience before we actually start the visit. My job is to better prepare the experience from the beginning.
Recently, attractions around the world have implemented strict security processes which can be off-putting for tourists.
I try to analyze and try all the services offered. From the toilets to the bar, to the bookshop – I need to have an overall vision. Often, I’ll interact with the staff to understand how they treat the customer.
Every site is different, especially for the number of visitors it may host. But at the heart of everything, there must be excellent management.
When I start my visit, I must first try to understand if there are different itineraries to follow. Is there a mandatory route? If a tourist has limited time, can they go directly to discover their favorite masterpiece?
I choose the best solution and I start looking at the details that I love so much. Are the explanations clear? Are there free teaching aids in the rooms? (In case of a visit to the museum for example) Can you sit in the rooms and listen to the audio guides comfortably? Is the site accessible to all members of the public?
There are many questions I ask myself and to which I know I have to answer. But this doesn’t frighten me, on the contrary, I feel perfectly suited to this role.
I believe that the secret is in my educational background that I have built with extreme care over the years. I have never been satisfied with being just an art historian. I’ve always been hungry to be a complete figure who could combine my passion for art with the world of tourist management and customer care.
During my audits, I use a checklist which is a bit like Ariadne’s red thread. In the end, I always manage to follow him and emerge victoriously from the maze. I have in my hands a rich booty, of notes, photographs, thoughts, solutions. I organize them and always carry them as a Mary Poppins bag! In the end, if I’ve educated the tourist, helped them and given them the best experience, I am happy.
This month has been intense, I had to check out several sites including the UNESCO jewel Pompeii, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Vatican Museums.
These sites all welcome a dizzying number of visitors but it’s interesting to visit them in the low season. Everything looks different and different aspects can be appreciated. Obviously I know that the data of an audit in low season must of course be balanced with the same activity in high season, otherwise it is difficult to walk in the guest’s shoes!
My eyes look at everything, even in the presence of the garbage pails. My ears follow guided tours and meeting point coordinators.
How do these people show themselves to the visitor? Empathy is as fundamental as a warm and sunny welcome!
We never forget in doitwell that the goal is to give the visitor an unforgettable experience.
What happens after the very first phase, which is usually “do you have a voucher to show me?” What does an attractions expert do in this circumstance?
I simply start enjoying the customer journey as a regular visitor.
My eyes must be critical to the right point to ensure perfect quality. I try to understand if the linguistic and cultural level of the guides is suitable and what can be improved.
Among the main aspects that I evaluate is the interaction the guide has with the customer. Is their approach positive, is the work done with passion? In simple terms, nothing is left to chance.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the role is simple and complex at the same time, but certainly not boring. On the contrary it is constantly stimulating. It’s a challenge to try to always improve one of our corporate missions: the Guest Experience!
Would you like to become an attractions expert too? Join our team!