In the late 1800s, deep in the bayou of Louisiana in the United States, a tradition was born that still exists to this day on the soulful streets of New Orleans. In the bustling southern city, merchants began to add a little extra to a customer’s purchase; a piece of licorice here, or an extra roll in the dozen there. As this tradition developed amid a blending of Spanish and French languages, it even got its own word. Thus, the lagniappe was born.
- a small gift given with a purchase to a customer, by way of compliment or for good measure; bonus.
- a gratuity or tip.
- an unexpected or indirect benefit.
The lagniappe idea is simple: it doesn’t take much to make someone’s visit memorable.
Now, fast forward more than 150 years. In the digital age, it still doesn’t take much to give a little extra and make someone feel special and welcomed.
A genuine interaction goes a long way
For DMOs like Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), their lagniappe is simply a genuine interaction. During the recent Brisbane Global Rugby Tens, a two-day rugby event held in the Australian state of Queensland, TEQ offered warm welcomes to the teams and players competing in the competition.
TEQ uses this approach on a regular basis. In past campaigns TEQ has employed “surprise and delight” tactics that discover in-market travellers online and then add something special to their trip. While many brands and businesses initiate engagement with the purpose of getting something in return (perhaps a photo, a follow, or a click), it’s important for DMOs to make visitor servicing their top priority. Sometimes, that simply means a casual welcome on Instagram, or an offer to answer any questions on Twitter.
From our experience in working with hundreds of DMOs and participating in thousands of conversations with travellers across the globe, it’s the genuine conversations that have the most impact. Online users don’t respond well to brand speak and canned responses. They do respond to conversation that speaks to them, makes them feel special, and engages them directly and uniquely:
After all, it doesn’t take much to make someone’s visit memorable – just a little something extra.
So ask yourself this question. Is your DMO delivering any lagniappes?