2017-04-20 / Editorial

Bits O’ News

A news item in this week’s It Happened rings just as true today as it did when it was written in 1967.

While it is included in It Happened, the piece taken from the April 20, 1967, “Bits O’ News” in the Roscommon Herald-News is worth highlighting in this space.

The April Chamber of Commerce Report asks 11 questions that tourists will likely ask during the coming resort season. If businessmen are unable to answer all of them quickly they should brush up on their local geography. The report says, “Now comes our obligation as a businessman. Treat the tourist right, help him, satisfy him, let him know you’re glad he or she came to Roscommon. Are you prepared — to answer his questions? The questions your secretary is asked most by the tourist is, what can we do? Where can we go? The last thing we want to do is send Mr. Tourist out of our area or County— we must educate ourselves to know what area our County has, what we take for granted is in most cases, what the tourist is looking for.”

The words were true in 1967 and they are just as true today, 50 years later.

The Houghton Lake Chamber of Commerce, Higgins Lake- Roscommon Chamber of Commerce and the Houghton Lake Area Tourism and Convention Bureau have worked to educate their members and the employees of their members in the importance of welcoming visitors to our area. Several years ago, we sat through a meeting where the importance of customer service as it relates to visitors was discussed in depth. The results the speaker gave were eye-opening.

The first – and lasting – impressions visitors to our area get can come from a wide range of experiences. From welcome signs to a convenience store clerk to whomever picks up a phone at a resort, how we interact with our visitors, or Mr. Tourist, can be the difference in someone having a good or bad experience. It is something to consider when we see a visitor or hear someone speak to a visitor. It is something business owners and managers should consider when hiring and evaluating their employees.

As communities, we also need to make sure we continue to fight blight. We also need to encourage people to clean and spruce up their buildings that serve as front doors to our area.

One of the items of focus in 1967 was the statement, “we must educate ourselves to know what area our County has, what we take for granted is in most cases, what the tourist is looking for.”

Think about that.

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