Bermudian entrepreneur Dennie O’Connor was recently named the 2019 International Certified Tourism Ambassador of the Year.
O’Connor, who owns the Cosmopolitan Night Club in Hamilton and is a co-owner of Beach Boys Ltd.—Tobacco Bay in St. George’s and the Bermuda Triangle Experience at Clearwater Beach, is the first winner from outside the United States.
“For more than 25 years, Dennie O’Connor has exemplified what Bermuda hospitality is all about,” says Karla Lacey, CTA, chief operating officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. “His passion and knowledge of Bermuda is what helps to set our island apart from other destinations.”
We asked O’Connor his thoughts on what it takes to be a great tourism ambassador.
1. Anticipating, reading and exceeding guest expectations are a must. Always try to be one step ahead. It will go a long way.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle! Exercising and finding time for yourself recharges your batteries and allows you to be your best. When you take time out for yourself, you can generate positive energy for others.
3. Acquire a well-rounded knowledge base. Knowing and understanding your product, cultural history, schedules, best dining spots, and more can give tourists the informative and personalized experience they are looking for.
4. Always put yourself in the guest’s shoes. Treat them how you wish to be treated.
5. Listen to understand and not to reply. Just because you think you know it all, you can still be humble and excited for the experience that the guest is about to enjoy.
6. Creating a team environment that is on the same page as you is the ultimate experience for any guest. Help others improve and enhance the skills that they may not realize they lack.
7. A compliment can go a long way. People typically wear what they feel good about like a favorite hat, a swimsuit, a special bag or other items. And some people have beautiful eyes, nails or even cool tattoos. Take that one second and compliment them on what they are already proud of and watch their energy and attitude come alive.
8. Most importantly: Love what you do, and it will show!