As the sun sets on the Memorial Day weekend many of us will begin to see the annual migration of guests making their way to our sites from places near and far. Singing day campers, lively campgrounds, tours and programs that are full, and lines at our admission and entry points will soon be a common site (we hope). Let’s not forget about the seasonal interpreters and interns that come with this migration like a symbiotic relationship.
Remember those days when you were soooo excited about the summer? Maybe it was a camping or fishing trip, visit to a new city, zoo, aquarium, baseball stadium, or park. Could you sleep the night before? Somewhere right now there is a kid, family, or individual planning to come to your site. At some point in their visit you’ll likely have an oportunity to “enage” with them. That engagement or lack of can go a long way in how their experience is defined and how they will define your site when telling others. Although we know there are some folks that don’t care to engage with staff we also know there are a lot of visitors who want to be part of something when they come to your site. They want their experience to be social, active, surprising, engaging, fun, and parents love when staff engage their kiddos in activity, programming, and in the fun.
Think of NEW ways this summer that you can engage your guests AND staff. There are an abundance of things to do at no cost…(smile, ask “Where are you from?”, bring out tangible props, involving folks in our interpretive programs,etc..) Throw the question out there with your staff and brainstorm ways to engage in training, at the front desk or gate, or in an interpretive program. How can maintenance, food service, and other departments help this cause?
During this summer’s “migration” they will go back and tell the others. What they tell them of their experience depends in part on how and if we engaged them. What they experience this summer can have an impact the migration to your site next year.
Have a great summer season! Smile, have fun, make their day, and ENGAGE and we’ll see you on the other side of summer!