Service key to Asian century: McGrath

Service key to Asian century: McGrath
By admin

Service has been highlighted as the biggest challenge facing Australian tourism, as the industry continues to target emerging Asian markets.

During a workshop at the Tourism Directions Conference in Canberra last week, Accor chief operating officer Simon McGrath identified “reshaping” of product and marketing as key tasks for the industry in the “Asian century”. But he underlined service as the “biggest thing to tackle in future”.

“It is probably one of the areas that is most complex and needs the most work,” he said.

Australia’s high end positioning means tourism products and experiences have to deliver value for money, according to McGrath.

Dropping prices would not improve customer satisfaction, he said. Instead, the high cost of an Australian holiday “puts pressure on us to perform”.

Developing an emotional connection rather than using a procedural approach is important when dealing with customers, particularly from the Asian region, he continued.

“You can do a checklist and still be pretty rude,” McGrath said.

Meanwhile, he insisted the private sector should not have to shoulder the burden alone and urged the government to dedicate more funds to training,

“We’re throwing this massive investment in the hands of a 23 year old and we’re not training or educating them,” he said.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy insisted Australian service, at its peak, is “the best in the world” but agreed improvements could be made.

He highlighted language skills as an important area for development, but also pointed to cultural awareness, respect and product interpretation as important.

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