Welcome to the 10th edition
of RTO7’s staff picks of the month! Here, the staff at RTO7 shares our experiences and recommendations of 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, take some time to try Typsy out for yourself and to share this awesome training tool with your staff and co-workers.
Bill Sullivan, CEO, RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: How to Master the First Impression
Total Course Length: 3.5 minutes
As a hospitality professional are you interesting or interested? What a great question to ask yourself when you are thinking through your approach to customer service. Follow that question with; will being interesting or interested build guest loyalty and meet the service expectations of the guest?
Amanda Stevens, the instructor, addresses this and provides other tips for improving the guest experience in the initial interaction. I found that this 3m 34s lesson provided me with some great reminders of things that I do daily are right, reminders that I have forgotten to do some things and some great ideas for new things to consider and action when interacting with people for the first time.
I spend most of my day interacting with the RTO7 Team, stakeholders, outside agencies and government organizations. These are four very different groups, with very different objectives and mandates but all influence the outcomes of RTO7. This lesson was a great prompt for me to rethink my approach to each of these very different audiences and that by personalizing the approach will improve the outcomes.
This lesson will make you think.
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: Online Reputation Management
Total Course Length: 48 minutes
This course in online reputation management (which involves much more than simply responding to online reviews) is valuable for any tourism operator. Assuming you pride yourself on the experience you offer, it would seem to me that this is one of the easiest ways in which to bring new guests in the door and to increase revenues.
I’m a review scout – the ratings, but even more the nature of the comments and the approach/tone of the commenters (which often helps me judge whether I might have a similar concern). As an operator, it’s worth dedicating time and resources to this process - from setting customer expectations prior to their visit, claiming your listings, tracking, and responding to reviews, through to dealing with potential operational issues highlighted by reviews. You have more control over your online reputation than some other forms of publicity, and positive reviews can do a lot of marketing for you. I recommend this course (which offers tips on things such as how to reduce negative reviews, rules of thumb for responding to reviews, and suggestions on how to handle particularly challenging reviews) as a good introduction to a hospitality best practice.
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: Utilizing AI for Growth
Total Mentor Session Length: 7 minutes
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a hot topic these days. Denham D’Silva, Founder and Head Brewer of Barossa Valley Brewing in California, has used it to his brewery’s advantage to create a new beer that fits in with his current brewery offerings. He feels AI (artificial intelligence) is the way of the future to help small businesses compete with large business and using it is part of sustainable business planning. Describing himself as a bit of a geek, D’Silva used AI to research and develop a recipe for a successful new beer, one that the brewery’s patrons love!
D'Silva is pleased his craft beer has won numerous awards over the years, but learned early on that awards alone don’t make a business viable. He feels AI is an awesome tool for small businesses to make timely and efficient decisions, especially when it comes to the back end of the business. He firmly believes the hospitality aspect of his business – the human to human – can never be lost, but that AI can take a load off already busy and overtaxed staff by simplifying and optimizing the operation of a business. His examples included choosing wines for your restaurant’s wine list, letting you know when you need to order supplies and at what levels stock should be maintained. AI takes care of the time-consuming analysis for your business and can be used to do “real good” (D’Silva’s words) in the hospitality industry and help give small businesses a competitive edge. Useful advice for any small business where owners, managers, and staff just don’t have the staff or resources to research more efficient ways to operate.
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.
More About Kim
Kim Clarke, Manager, Stakeholder Relations RTO7 / BruceGreySimcoe
Typsy Pick of the Month: Profit and Loss Essentials
Total Course Length: 59 minutes
One of the biggest struggles I hear about with business is not understanding financial statements. This is fundamental to running a successful, sustainable business. Co-founder and CEO of Wilcuma, Nicolas Simon walks you through a profit and loss statement for a restaurant.
This course is great to help shed some light on where you can find financial leakage, and where you can see opportunity for increased profit. The course comes with an example profit and loss statement as well as examples of how to develop expense categories.
Although this is a restaurant example, it is applicable to any business.
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: Effective Communication with Staff
Total Course Length: 21 minutes
At just over 20 minutes, this is probably the shortest, but most-informative Typsy course I’ve done yet. Effective Communication with Staff is packed with ideas about how to improve communication in all situations from new hires to conflict resolution with existing staff. Host Mike Ganino delivers the info in rapid fire, bite-sized pieces and does a great job of recapping the lessons learned in each section. The result is an info-packed but quick course that will help you improve your communication.
The course kicks off with ideas of how to build rapport with new staff. Ganino recommends taking notes during the interview process that you can circle back to later. He also reminds us that staff love being taught something new and giving new staff the chance to teach others is a good idea. Being approachable and appreciative are also emphasized and keeping the door open for two-way communication.
Ganino has great tips for holding staff accountable and loves the idea of checklists developed with staff input. He also suggests keeping a notebook with what everyone has agreed to or implementing a to-do list posted in a common staff area.
He has tips for running effective meetings. I liked the idea that there are warmups to the meetings to get people engaged as well as wrap ups that leave the meetings closing on a high energy note. There are also suggestions on conducting effective performance reviews, managing conflicts between staff, having difficult conversations and building a harassment free workplace.
All in all, while this course is short it is packed with great information and ideas. I would strongly recommend this to anyone managing staff who’s looking for some new ideas to improve day-to-day communication.
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: Exercise Tips for Hospitality Workers
Total Course Length: 50 minutes
The hospitality industry is one filled with odd or later hours, less frequent down time, and varying degrees of stress.
This course taught by Leandra Rouse, will assist with proper lifting techniques, healthy eating habits, stretching and core strengthening, plus provide tips on nutrients replacement. Each lesson is anywhere from 2-8 minutes in length and has you involved, by trying out some of the exercises. As Leandra says, ‘Our health is a product of what we do most of the time not some of the time.’ She recommends putting the recommendations into play and using the stretches multiple times a week.
Though being on your device or having social drinks after work may seem like a great way to wind down, Leandra highlights the proper way to relax after your shift.
Drinking Hot tea
Taking a Bath
Eating foods that trigger sleep (cottage cheese, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds or a banana)
Did you know that you should be drinking half a pint glass of water every hour? Many workers in the hospitality industry become dehydrated while working. By taking this course you will find out additional useful tips and facts that will help you to be working more optimally and health consciously.
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: Social Media Marketing
Total Course Length: 47 Minutes
In just 47 minutes, this course provides a high-level overview of social media strategy for business. With thoughtful planning, you could take your social media marketing from a daunting daily task to an enjoyable journey that allows you to connect and engage with your customers. You will learn how to set specific goals, understand your target audience, identify the best channels, and create engaging content. The end result is a social media strategy that will provide guidance and focus so that any member of your team can lend a hand in managing the day-to-day activity on your social media platforms. There’s key information on setting up a UTM code so that you can track the analytics of your social media campaign through your Google Analytics. Highly recommended for all operators partnering with RTO7 on our social media advertising programs (Implementation Programs & Partnership Program SMA)!
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.
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