Welcome to the 11th edition of RTO7’s staff picks of the month! Here we share our experiences and recommendations on Typsy courses, the on-line training platform that is available free-of charge to those that work in tourism in BruceGreySimcoe. The training is open to all levels of employers and employees – business owners, managers, full-time and part-time staff, and seasonal employees.
After reading our choices below, try Typsy
out for yourself and share this awesome training tool with your staff and co-workers.
Bill Sullivan, CEO, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Customer (Experiential) Service
Total Course Length: 13 minutes
This is a course that has packed a lot of great recommendations and solutions into a very short time. Just what you need during this very busy summer season. Amanda addresses 4 things: How to master the first impression (I wrote about this lesson last month), How to build trust with customers, How to personalize the customer experience, Identifying and satisfying unhappy customers.
I decided to come back to this course and complete it, partly because of the length but also because I have just returned from vacation, and I had some great service experiences and some mediocre service experiences. I thought to myself this might be great time to remind me of the solutions for those mediocre experiences. It did a great job and as I watch the videos it took me back to my first job in a resort in 1981 where I was working for a husband-and-wife ownership team, and I can still hear them say ‘The guest comes first’. ‘The guest comes first’ meant more than the guest should be served first but also, do what it takes to make them happy, so they return and speak positively about their experience at the resort. I have tried to do that throughout my career with many successes and some failures. I wish this course had been available to me over those 40 plus years, it would have reduced the number of failures.
Providing guest service can be hard, I get it, but this course can help make it a little bit easier and improve your day in dealing with those difficult situations.
I recommend that you take the 13 minutes to view this course, think about it and introduce it to your team. Your team is looking for solutions too and this is an opportunity for you to reinvest in your staff and your business.
More About Bill
Bill Sullivan is the CEO of Regional Tourism Organization 7, BruceGreySimcoe. Bill has over 40 years in senior management roles within the hospitality and tourism industry in rural Ontario. Bill’s operational experience during previous booms, recessions, emergencies, pandemics is assisting the industry on its road to recovery. Bill is responsible for strategic planning and operations of the organization. Prior to joining RTO7, Bill held progressive management positions over a 30-year career in resort operations. Bill received his education in the Hospitality and Tourism program at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).
Alex Hogan, Project & Administration Manager, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Time Management & Productivity for Leaders
Total Course Length: 54 minutes
Have you ever worn ‘busyness’ as a badge of honour? Think it’s pretty common…but activity’s different than results. I really recommend this course, which focuses on techniques to be sure you’re achieving results. Among other things, it addresses multi-tasking (fun exercise), procrastination (as a way to escape negative thoughts/feelings about a task), the importance of delegation, and of setting boundaries. Some really good suggestions here to ensure the work being done is both the right work, and that it’s being done well. What are you waiting for? Go eat your frog!
More About Alex
Alex Hogan is the Program & Administration Manager at RTO7 and has over 20 years’ experience managing a wide variety of projects. Alex brings strong communication and organizational skills to projects to meet the needs and objectives of partners and projects. She manages the Partnership Program, as well as contributing to sustainable tourism and workforce development projects. Prior to RTO7, Alex managed training projects for a Toronto based environmental consulting company specializing in waste management and climate change issues. She graduated from Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo.
Ginny Henry, Communication Coordinator, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Wheel the World, Creating accessible experiences
Total Mentor Session Length: 7 minutes
Through firsthand experience, presenter Alvaro Silberstein knows, and understands, the travel challenges facing disabled people. A car accident resulted in a spinal injury leaving him paralyzed from the chest down and to life in a wheelchair. What didn’t change was Alvaro’s love of travel, with a focus on nature and adventure. When a friend and he tried to plan a trip together and found zero info for travellers with disabilities, they planned their own experience – to complete the Patagonia W Trek in Chili by wheelchair. Alvaro became the first person in a wheelchair to accomplish this. The story went viral on social media with hundreds of disabled people reaching out to do the same experience. This led to the creation of “Wheel the World”, which Alvaro describes as the “Expedia” for accessible travel. The goal is to make the world accessible.
Some tips gleaned from this short presentation:
If your tourism business is accessible, share that info with the world through photos on your website and social media. Let the world know that people with accessibilities are welcome.
There are one billion people in the world with accessibilities, who, when travelling, bring at least one companion. In the US alone, these travellers generate $50 billion dollars annually.
The tourism industry is still full of barriers preventing people with disabilities to travel easily.
Take action: have your business assessed for accessibility gaps and train your train in how to best serve these guests. Take it step-by-step to improve your services and facilities.
Wheelchairs are 28 inches wide, so consider that for spaces where your services are offered to accommodate size and movement.
This mentor session is a solid introduction to the full course (12 lessons, just under 2 hours), “Offering services to guests with disabilities” offered on Typsy, which digs in deeper to how you can better meet the needs of these travellers.
More About Ginny
Ginny Henry is the Communication Coordinator at Regional Tourism Organization 7 / BruceGreySimcoe. Her career in the tourism industry started from the “bottom up”, with a summer job cleaning toilets and rooms at a family-run motel in Port Elgin, Ontario just over 40 years ago. Many of her job choices were inspired by the words, “it’s something I’ve always wanted to do”, with a strong focus on customer service, tourism, event organization and small business support. Her role at RTO7 includes social media, overseeing the seasonal partnership/image campaigns, newsletters, website content and pretty much anything communication-related that crops up. Ginny has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Kim Clarke, Manager, Stakeholder Relations RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Total Course Length: 36 minutes
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are three words that are used more and more often in the workplace. Dr. Debra Blair does a terrific job defining each of those terms. She sets the background for the training as these terms can be intimidating for some and exciting for others. She outlines how everyone has a role in making a workforce more inclusive, equitable and diverse. These start with developing policies with at the leadership level, but employee’s behaviour can set the tone and build a strong DEI culture.
By outlining the benefits and challenges, she makes a strong business case for why DEI makes sense. She points out that DEI plans and policies need to have buy in from everyone, not just from the top. She also suggests that this is a strategy that is always evolving. Dr. Blair does an excellent job of defining unconscious bias and how the negative biases can impact culture. Understanding and acknowledging unconscious bias that we all have can help to make the workplace more inclusive. Sometimes it’s important to challenge our unconscious bias.
I really found understanding how to move past my unconscious bias really helpful. The 4 tips to move past my unconscious bias and the ladder framework helped me to understand why I make certain conclusions. She also made me feel confident that, with some work, I can start to make some positive changes. Dr. Blair also provides helpful ideas to how to identify and tune into other people’s biases.
After finishing this course, I have some practical tactics to help address some of unconscious biases and what I can do help my workplace be a better one.
More About Kim
Kim Clarke is the Manger, Stakeholder Relations at Regional Tourism Organization 7 / BruceGreySimcoe. Kim has spent over 15 years in the tourism industry working in destination development and management. She works closely with a variety of stakeholders to help them create amazing new experiences, managing visitation and works to find solutions to the workforce crisis. Kim is the lead for the experience and workforce development files at RTO7. She received her formal education, Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Allison Davies, Communication Assistant, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Social Media Marketing
Total Course Length: 47 minutes
“We don’t have a choice on whether or not we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” Truer words were never spoken when it comes to the topic of social media marketing. This short course led by Stephanie Garcia is packed with valuable information from figuring out your goals to creating engaging content that speaks to your target market.
Even though this course is only 47 minutes long, you may want to give yourself some extra time to complete it. There’s so much information in here that it can easily be watched lesson-by-lesson for a more bite-sized approach to this crucial topic.
Knowing where to start in social media can be overwhelming and Garcia recommends conducting a social media review twice a year. This housekeeping exercise lets you report any fake accounts, delete any inactive accounts and make sure all administrative elements like usernames and passwords are in order. As she does throughout the course, Garcia offers a downloadable template to make the process easier.
I thought the section on establishing measurable goals for your social media that align with your business goals was valuable. Garcia suggest determining which metrics you’ll track, the outcome you’re after and the deadline you’ve set for achieving those results. She also discusses social media phases from awareness to engagement to conversion.
Her STEPPS system for creating engaging content is valuable and again comes with a downloadable template. By using social currency, triggers, emotion, public and practical value, and storytelling, you can ensure your content will resonate with your audience.
There’s information on content cadence with a downloadable calendar, a section on working with influencers, and a section on choosing which platform will work best for you. Ultimately, Garcia recognizes that most businesses can’t do it all. She sums it up by saying: The channels that work best for you are the ones you can commit to.
All in all, this is a very valuable course from start to finish. Bookmark it for future reference as there is a lot to digest.
More About Allison
Allison Davies is a writer, photographer and content creator who has worked for Regional Tourism Organization 7 in the Communication Assistant role for 5 years. As a trained photojournalist, she worked for many local DMOs on both writing and photography projects before joining the RTO7 team full time. Today she uses those skills to help support tourism operators by marketing the region through social media and web content. She has an English Literature degree from McGill University and a Photojournalism Diploma from Loyalist College. In her free time, Allison loves to shoot sports and continues to write for several magazines on a freelance basis.
Amanda Pausner, Experience & Administration Coordinator, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Customer Service Recovery with Dan Cockerell
Total Course Length: 38 minutes
Mistakes are inevitable… we are human… The skills taught in this course will give businesses the tools they need to make a strong recovery.
You can gain certification from this course in 38 minutes, with 11 lessons. Many resources, templates and worksheets are made available after the lessons.
The instructor teaches viewers to become proactive, to plan ahead; practice self-reflection and ensure there is continuous improvement and growth within your business. The issues and challenges you are dealing with may not be your problem, but they are your problem to solve. He says to tell yourself every day that you are a ‘professional problem solver’. He demonstrates the LAST model and shows how it can support businesses.
Did you know that 83% of customers say they feel more loyal to a brand that responds to and resolves their complaints and that a great experience is the number one reason for returning guests. This course is worth the time commitment!
If you enjoy Walt Disney, Dan used to be the VP of Magic Kingdom, so the entire course has a resort feel to it with many examples referencing Disney, there is also soft background music playing similar to what you would experience if you were vacationing there throughout.
More About Amanda
Amanda has worked in the tourism industry for over 23 years. She joined the RTO7 team in 2018 in her current position as Experience & Administration Coordinator. She assists with administration duties, programs offered by RTO7 and, over the last two years, has led the T3 Accelerator Coaching Program, which supports small businesses in Bruce, Grey and Simcoe Counties. Previously, she worked with Grey County Tourism for 16 years, managing operator relations and working as a media relations specialist, showcasing what the area had to offer. While taking the Tourism Management course at Georgian College, Barrie she spent her summers with the Owen Sound Transportation Company (MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry). In her spare time, Amanda enjoys travelling with her family of four and working in her many veggie gardens.
Robyn Hewitt, Program Coordinator, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Writing 101 for Hospitality Businesses
Total Course Length: 10 minutes
Business writing requires understanding your audience and needs to be concise, easy to read, punchy, and effective. I almost stopped the course early on, wondering if it was still relevant today with products such as ChatGPT. I decided to stick to it and learned that even if you’re starting to explore AI for writing, you still need to understand how to define your audience and how to plan your writing. These 2 lessons are at the beginning of this course and can be completed in just 10 minutes. Give it a try!
More About Robyn
Robyn joined RTO7 as the Program Coordinator in August 2021 and brings a diverse background with almost 20 years of experience in various capacities of sales, marketing, and partnership development in the hospitality and tourism industry. Much of her experience is within the hotel sector where she specialized in the leisure travel trade, selling multiple properties within the Marriott family of brands. She has experience in creating integrated sales and marketing strategies and has managed the digital marketing for a large urban hotel. Robyn oversees the RTO7 Implementation Programs (OIP, SIP, RIP), as well as the administration of the Typsy training platform. She received a Business Commerce Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) and completed a Certificate of Digital Marketing Management through the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto.