As Kelowna continues its trend of rapid growth, our tourism industry grows with it, meaning more new and innovative businesses are popping up, and more job opportunities are opening year after year. Starting a new job in the tourism and hospitality sector is an exciting endeavour but can require specific visitor servicing techniques that may differ from other industries.

Below are some tips to help you—or your staff—provide exceptional customer service, keeping both visitors and locals alike coming back for more!

Ensure everyone who walks through your door is greeted

When someone enters your place of work, they want to feel seen and appreciated. While a full conversation as soon as someone walks in isn’t necessary, a smile and a “Hello, how can I help you today?” can go a long way in opening the door for customer support. Visitors can often be shy and unwilling to make the first move in asking for assistance, so being the one to initiate a conversation can make all the difference. Even when your place of work is crowded, and all workers are currently occupied, taking a moment to smile at someone and let them know that they will be helped soon establishes a connection and ensures clientele that they have not been forgotten or gone unnoticed.

Encourage detailed and specialized training

Working in the tourism and hospitality industry means that every day, you will be servicing new people from different cultures, economic classes, genders and sexualities, and more. Working in this industry means you must be prepared to support visitors' individual needs, overcome language barriers, and treat everyone with respect and thoughtfulness.

While it is not your job as an employee to organize training, consider encouraging your employer to look into specialized training for you and your coworkers. British Columbia’s leading resource for all things tourism and hospitality, go2HR, offers several SuperHost® training courses such as Foundations of Service Quality, a general course on providing quality service in a customer-facing position, and Service for All: Foundations of Inclusive Service, a more specialized course on the unique needs of diverse visitors.

Never be afraid to ask for help

Working in this industry means you are often interacting with people who have never been to Kelowna before. They may have no clue where things are located, what there is to do, how daily life is conducted, or anything that we, as locals, may take for granted. Often, you will be asked questions, some of you which you may not know the answers to.

In these cases, always be ready to reach out for a lifeline! Your coworkers, employer, and even the internet all have a plethora of knowledge that is easily accessible if you ask. While you may feel embarrassed to admit you don’t know everything (especially in front of a customer), whoever you are servicing will be pleased to receive accurate and bountiful information, even if you had to ask for help to provide it.

Establish relationships with everyone you help

While it’s true that in this industry, most of the people you service you will most likely never meet again, it’s still important to make personal connections and establish an amicable relationship. You are a representation of your city, and even if you are only interacting with somebody once, you want them to leave your interaction feeling happy and fulfilled. Find something in common, share a personal anecdote, or give a thoughtful suggestion. People love forming connections—however brief—so treat all visitors like friends, and they will leave your place of work feeling lighter and happier than they entered it. You may even be surprised to learn how much you have in common with the people you help!

The tourism and hospitality industry gives you the unique chance to meet new people, discover new things, and gain a new appreciation for your home through the eyes of a visitor. Working in this industry can be one of the most fun and fulfilling positions you can have, so above all else, spend every day enjoying it!

If you're interested in any additional visitor service tips from our Community & Visitor Engagement team, stop by the Kelowna Visitor Centre to chat or reach out to us at