What makes a destination unforgettable? I considered this question while spending a few incredible days at Azul Sensatori Mexico, by Karisma , a gourmet all-inclusive resort located in breathtaking Quintana Roo, México, 20 minutes from the Cancun airport.
The combination of culturally stylish appointments and world-class dining made the experience one that I won’t soon forget! As I savored a unique and delectable meal at Le Chique, I wondered aloud what makes a vacation destination unforgettable? Is there a formula for surprisingly delightful hospitality?
Karisma Hotels & Resorts Senior Business Development Manager for North America, Daniel Scheiman, shared his thoughts on the subject.
Specialize in providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences—over and over again.
“From May through September, whale sharks converge upon the waters of Yucutan,” says Scheiman, who paints a vivid picture of what it’s like to see the whale sharks. He’s even posted a video of his personal experience visiting the whale sharks on YouTube!
Being surrounded by these creatures surreal, thrilling, and unforgettable—a once in a life time experience—but resorts in that area can give visitors that experience year after year.
Don’t aim to please: aim to inspire passion.
“A strong emotional connection makes a destination unforgettable,” explains Scheiman. “Passion you cannot control: strong feelings, like the day your first child is born, or the event that inspires you to quit smoking forever.”
To invoke these kinds of strong emotions, layer the guest experience. Don’t just provide comfortable accommodations and good food: bathe visitors in luxury and delight them with surprise after surprise.
And remember all of your guests when you plan the customer experience: for family resorts, that includes children. Azul Sensatori excels at including the little ones and creating a memorable vacation experience for the whole family.
The resort offers a toy lending program, and features play spaces and toys designed by Fisher-Price® at the Azulitos Kid’s Club, so children enjoy their vacation as much as their parents.
Although I was not traveling with children, I was very impressed with the extra amenities that Azul Sensatori offered to the young guests, including free in-room infant amenities. That kind of attention to detail is what delights and inspires guests, and makes their experience at your resort unforgettable.
Give guests a story they’ll want to tell.
No one talks about an adequate vacation destination: they want to regale their friends back home with tales of adventure and romance.
Indiana Jones made his female students swoon, but not because he spent a few nights at a basic but functional economy class motel. His experiences were full of adventure and heroism. You don’t have to build an interactive safari attraction, but do strive to create experiences for your guests.
Cultivate a relationship with area businesses, and become intimately familiar with points of interest in your area. If you direct your guests to an unforgettable experience, you become part of that story.
Emphasize your points of distinction.
“There are three major waterfalls in the world,” says Scheiman. “Niagra Falls is one of the most famous, Angel Falls in Venezuela holds the Guinness World’s Record as the tallest waterfall, and Victoria Falls in Africa has the highest recorded flow, so it’s the most intense waterfall. All are unforgettable in their own way.”
You may offer some of the same features as other destinations, but something about your resort is different. Point out those distinctions, and give guests something to remember.
Be prepared for unprepared guests.
Some guests do not come prepared for the environment they’re visiting. “I live in the tropics,” recalls Scheiman, “and when we went whale watching in Portland, Maine, I was not prepared for the cold.”
Understand that some guests will arrive under- or over-dressed, and be ready to lend them the equipment they need to fully enjoy their vacation at your resort.
Challenge yourself to do better.
“Be better than you think you can be,” urges Scheiman. “You have to think of others, and be better than you might if there was just you to consider.”
When you’re providing service to customers, don’t just think about what would satisfy you: think about what you’d do to delight your own family. Push yourself to inspire awe in the people who visit your resort.
Where are some of your favorite places? What makes a destination unforgettable for you?