Everyone remembers the “Dirty Harry” movies and Clint Eastwood’s famous line “Make My Day!!”   I would like to suggest that you all think about the significance of making someone’s day at your Park this summer – over and over again.  This is something that I talked about with great passion at the retreat at Asilomar.  In making someone’s day, you not only surprise and delight a good and valuable guest, but you get to make your own day by doing so.

Please remember that I spoke to all of you about this suggested new emphasis by pointing out what Big Basin does with its Tent Cabins, (they give random surprise upgraded camping packages to unsuspecting guests).  The results have been astounding in many ways: repeat business, joy and appreciation in peoples’ hearts, great social media consequences and that wonderful feeling that management gets out of the ability to do something so totally meaningful for other people.

This is a gift that we give to all of you… YOU all now have the ability to not only make others’ lives better, but also to enrich your own by doing so.  We do this because Pam and I have a deep commitment about giving back some of the great bounty that we enjoy, but also because it’s simply good business.  The benefits greatly exceed the costs of providing the service.  Let me give you some examples of how you might use your own Park’s resources to get started on this program that we hope you will embrace.

  • Buy a regular customer their morning cup of coffee and throw in a pastry.
  • Give an hour or a half day row boat to a regular customer and throw in the bait.
  • Compliment an add-on service to a returning group at your special event center
  • Put a special gift for the bride in the bridal prep area
  • Copy Big Basin’s program of surprise upgraded camping packages
  • When you have lines of people waiting to pay… go down that line and award a few water park passes to a guest or two.
  • Give a regular launch ramp guest a free pass.
  • Give a child a free ice cream when their family spends a bunch at your store.

Remember… the gift should be a SURPRISE, BE SPONTANEOUS, AND THE GIFT SHOULD BE GIVEN WITH A SMILE.  Preferably it should be given to good customers, but not necessarily.

This is not a license “to give away the store” but rather to be given with a great deal of discretion.  Is it meant to delight and surprise the recipient, but also with the idea in mind that whatever you are doing, will in the long run create a more loyal guest, increase that guest’s compulsion to tell others about their SURPRISE experience and increase their chances of using Social Media to tell about their experience at our Park.

Have fun with this program.  Enrich yourself, your guests and along way make our businesses more prosperous.  I would greatly appreciate some feedback in how you have implemented this program and even some pictures if possible.

John Koeberer

Great Experiences in the Great Outdoors