What if your business became a desired destination? Or what if your location was viewed as 'a launching pad' for fun and adventure? Have you ever heard about selling the sizzle, instead of the steak?
As an example, in my recent trip to Washington, DC, I had the option of flying out of Chicago's O'Hare (ORD) or Milwaukee's MKE airport. I chose MKE – Mitchell – for a variety of reasons.
Airports are a destination as well as a via point to elsewhere. They have often become mini-malls and restaurant rows. MKE has added some elements of a museum, artwork and other interesting and fun features to make coming to their airport more desirable.
It started with Long Term Parking
Airport parking at MKE offers four primary options, my choice was the long term 'super saver' parking (a good 50% less than ORD). The shuttle driver appeared as if on cue. Robert, the driver in the photo, proceeded to entertain us all (7 or so on that ride) with riddles, directions, suggestions, humor and good service.
We learned Robert had a 96 out of of 100 on his last job evaluation. He was good, so I believe it! Robert enjoys what he does, and it showed.
When I got inside the terminal, I spotted a table tennis (ping pong, anyone?) table! Two college-age looking guys (Tate, left; Mark, right) were playing. It has been YEARS since I played.
But what the heck? If I lost, they'd never see me again! If I won…hmm…
…I asked to play the winner, who turned out to be Tate, who had won by 10 over his buddy Mark.
Since Tate was smoking me with even gentle serves and returns during the warm up, which lasted about 120 seconds, he showed the zeal of youth. "Are you warmed up enough?"
Sure, was my reply.
What did I have to lose?
My pin-holder grip, learned during my own college days from a South Korean student, has the occasional advantage of laying on some spin. The pin-holder is also pretty potent when a ball floated into smash position!
When I first walked up, it was only Tate, Mark and myself. But as the middle age guy – that was moi! – started to mount up the score, a small crowd gathered as we played…
By the end of the game, the once empty wall across from the PGA shop was lined with spectators. Tate was periodically muttering to himself about letting himself get 'shaken,' 'surprised' and such.
The final was 21 to 12, with the short guy in the hat (Tate, left; Tony, right) prevailing.
I asked one of those spectators to take the photo shown. Tate was a good sport, we shook hands and I yielded the table, not wanting to tempt fate (after all, Tate was closing the gap in the second half).
None of this would have happened at O'Hare!
So what is the point?
The point is this. I'm doing in this column what millions do daily on Facebook, Twitter, via email, text or verbally. Sharing the day's experience! Someone will read this someday, and will select flights out of MKE vs. ORD as a result of my story and photos.
The lesson? Make the experience with your company memorable!
If you retail manufactured or modular homes, make the experience of coming to your community, development or retail center a good one. No matter what they decide, let them have a good time while you strive to show them why your offer is the place they should call home.
Our businesses and homes are destinations. They can become the launching pad for fun for people! Make the experience memorable, and more people will beat a path to your door. ##
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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford