Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category

Orange Pride?

August 11, 2019

Orange Parade

When I received an invitation from Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland and President of Dublin Chamber to attend a very small gathering in Belfast to observe the Orange Parade on the 12th July, I must admit I was quiet surprised.

This initiative is something that Niall has been working on for a number of years to build bridges and trust across communities.

After some consideration and diary juggling, I decided to make the trip, mainly out of curiosity and to get a deeper understanding of the political climate in the North.

I was warned by many to be extremely careful where I drove, where I parked the car and not to wander out of the hotel alone for any reason. 

I must admit to feeling some trepidation as I drove into Belfast on the afternoon of the 11th watching the many Northern reg cars going in the opposite direction.

My Google Maps took me safely to the door of the newest hotel in Belfast, the superb Grand Central and I chose the valet parking to avoid any risk of going down a wrong street!

On the evening of the 11th there was a mini gathering in the breathtaking Observatory Bar at the top of the hotel, which was a spectacular location to look over the city and the various bonfires that could be seen in different parts.

The gathering included our small group, representatives from Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, some tourism officials as well as Rev. Meryn Gibson, Grand Secretary of the Orange Order and some business people from the city.

As we enjoyed the wine and tasty treats we watched as the crowds started to gather close by, at a site where they were getting ready to set their bonfire alight at midnight.

It was a very strange and uneasy feeling watching the huge structure, higher than a house, with our Irish flag on top and an election poster for a female Sinn Fein candidate tied onto it… I understood why people left the North for these few days.

One of the group who lived in Belfast left the function briefly with her niece to observe the bonfire from the street and I asked if could I tag along … I did ask if it was safe first !!

The scene around the bonfire was strange with couples, families, friends and a random but large assortment of people of all ages all with their smartphones ready to capture the moment when the fire was lit. 

For some it was a mini party and they had their bottles of beer and cider on the go.

I felt more than a little strange witnessing what was going on and I was careful not to engage with anyone as the Cork accent might just be difficult to disguise!

Eventually the bonfire was lit and in no time at all the fire was raging, smoke bellowing into the sky and a strong blast of heat made it to us , even though we were across the street.

There was some cheering when the bonfire was lit and a small group started to chant something that I couldn’t make out – while everyone was busy capturing the “moment” on their smartphones. I really didn’t get a sense of huge celebration from the onlookers and I wondered was there a degree of discomfort with them as well, watching a flag burning that represented their neighbours and the poster of a female politician?

We returned to the hotel with our thoughts, had a nightcap and headed to bed.

The following morning there was a breakfast reception at the hotel with some of the leaders from the different Orange Lodges.

Before we sat down for breakfast there was lots of chit chat as the various people arrived in our private room at the hotel. It was clear already that this was a very special day for the ‘Orange Order’ community as they started to give us insights into their day of marching. Some were from Belfast and others had travelled from places as far away as Scotland and they spoke with pride about what this day meant to them.

Needless to say they were all turned out immaculately for this special day.

Finally the group sat down for breakfast and we had a chance to chat in more depth with those sitting either side of us.

I was sitting next to a very nice gentleman called William Hughes, The Deputy County Grand Master of the Belfast Grand Orange Lodge.

I shared with him my lack of knowledge about the day and the warnings that people had given me about a visit to Belfast.

He used some of the promotional material on the table for the “Twelfth” to describe the day to me, what it meant to the Orange Order and what collectively they were trying to achieve with the day.

There was a square beer mat with the campaign key message “Its about the Battle, not the Bottle”.

Basically, it’s about the significance of the Battle of the Boyne and the celebration of this and not a day for getting drunk! 

On the other side of the beer mat there was an image of people standing at a bonfire with the words “Heritage, Respect, Remembrance, Tradition and Culture”.

The overriding idea is that this is an ‘OrangeFest’ for everyone to enjoy and instead of it being an occasion that would make people avoid the North, it should be the opposite, an attraction that people would want to experience and enjoy.

He explained to me how the Orange Order and the Orange Lodges worked, how they are rooted in religion and good living and how they are an important part of people’s identities and lives.

He did explain that from time to time they clash with the church, as the view is that if they really are upholding the values of their religion then they should be attending church regularly, which is not the case.

It did strike me that they were a very close knit community and that there was a huge tradition around the Lodges that passed from generation to generation and the Orange Parades were the ultimate expression and celebration of this.

I asked about the significance of the bonfires and I was given lots of rational explanations about a guiding light, about warmth and a sign of life. I shared my extreme discomfort about the Irish flag and the election posters as part of the fire and expressed the view that this seriously clashed with how the Orange celebrations had been explained to me by him and that it felt quite disturbing to witness.

His response to me was that this was very unfortunate, definitely not in the spirit of the occasion and it was effectively the work of some hooligans.

While I was glad to hear this explanation, I rationalised it by comparing it to hooligans at soccer matches who can chant and do stupid things and give all fans a bad reputation.

However, it did niggle at me that if the bonfires were so significant and a key symbol to mark this time of the year, then there should have been a huge effort to remove these emotive symbols from the bonfires. Where there is a strong will, there is a way?

Of course the TV crews picked up on these symbols as part of their coverage of the occasion, which sends a poor message to everyone, possibly confirming what many people have in their heads about this society and the unease in the North.

As part of the format of the breakfast everyone present introduced themselves and said a few words. Everyone was made feel very welcome and without doubt the hands of friendship were offered openly.

When it came to my turn I explained how much my opinion had shifted as a result of the experience and I thanked them for their hospitality.

Orange parade

Outside our window along the route we could see people gathering, getting in position for the few hours of marches. These people were organised, with their fold up chairs, their British flags and their refreshments.

As time passed by, the Orange Lodge members were starting to get anxious as they were checking their watches as they all had to be ready to take their position and march with their Lodge.

Our new Orange friends put on their sashes, there was a presentation, photographs and very brief speeches and they headed off to join their respective Lodges.

I took my beer mat and the souvenir programme as momentos of the occasion and to study them in detail later.

We left the wonderful Central Hotel and we were led down the road to a spot which was deemed good for observing the marches.

The walk towards our “spot” was a little embarrassing as the street was lined on each side by eager people all waiting for the marches to begin.

I suspected that many thought that our smartly dressed group were VIPs of some sort as we walked in between them – there was a lot of attention on us and many had their cameras and smartphones ready, just in case there was someone worth snapping!

You could get a huge sense of community as we walked and many of those watching seemed to know the guys who were leading our little group and there was plenty of friendly banter between them.

We finally settled at a spot to watch the marches and waited.

I was observing the people around me waiting – there were old and young, families, couples, bunches of friends and just the very odd person walking by with a drink in their hand – It’s about the Battle, not the Bottle I thought!

Orange parade

In particular, I was observing two young girls in front of me, 20 years of age at most. They were well prepared with their refreshments, their seats and the British flags in hand and they were enjoying their day. One of them had a baby and she held it in her arms getting ready for what was probably the child’s “first” parade – another tradition begins.

After a while we could see the first Orange Lodge appearing with flags, band and other members all marching proudly.

Our wait was a short one, but for many of the people who were waiting it must have been quite a while – it surprised me that when the marching bands did eventually reach our area there was no one cheering or even clapping, just watching.

Orange parade

Band after band marched by, some large and some small, predominantly male and a big mix of ages. The one thing they all had in common was the sense of pride and honour that they carried with them with each step.

Eventually all of the bands had passed by, possibly after an hour and a half and that was that.

As part of our itinerary there was an option to visit the new James Connolly Visitor Centre on the Falls Road and in a way get a sense of how the “other part” of the community in Belfast treated these few days.

I was really impressed by the little Visitor Centre and cafe and we had the opportunity to chat to the manager there, Séanna Walsh and one of the local political representatives for the area.

They explained to us all of the hard work that is being put in year after year, to keep people away from trouble and to give them positive things to do. We heard about the free music festival ‘Feile’ that has been going on for decades and we also heard about the activities on the ground to ensure trouble does not break out.

The Falls Road in the ‘Gaeltacht Quarter’ was not at all what I was expecting!

Before I knew it my Orange visit was over and I had lots to mull over about the very positive experience on the long drive home.

The following morning with a cup of coffee in hand I took out the programme for the “Twelfth” which I had from the breakfast the day before,

I turned the pages and started to read the foreword, which was written by a senior member of the Orange Order.

Two paragraphs in I found myself reading about the “disgusting Sinn Fein politicians” and further on I read about fascists and it got worse.

As much as I had heard about an OrangeFest, celebrating “Hertitage, Respect, Remembrance, Tradition and Culture“, the deep wounds and raw hatred are still very close to the surface witnessed by this rhetoric being used by the leadership in the “souvenir” programme.

I reflected on the bonfire, the Irish flag and the posters of the female Sinn Fein candidate and it made sense to me that many would be quite truthfully more than happy to see these go up in flames.

Maybe it wasn’t a few hooligans after all?

It is hard for us to properly understand what it is like in the North, the deep divisions and the deeper scars.

I do fully understand why people leave the North, and their plans next year and the year after will be no different.

I can’t see how this time will be a festival that attracts visitors anytime soon, which is very unfortunate for the fine place.

Orange parade

I do admire the great work that many are doing to keep the peace and to reach out, but more leaders will need to show more leadership and change their rhetoric for the sake of future generations.

I do sincerely thank the people I met for their hospitality and for sharing their special occasion with us.

Finally, I do admire the huge sense of pride and identity that they have for their history, culture and way of life and wish that maybe we should have more of that about Ireland and our Patrick’s day.

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

The Mother, the Mother-in-Law and the Queen

July 28, 2018

Pat O'Connell and The Queen, English Market

I just had to grab the man, with the heartiest and biggest laugh in Cork, Pat O’Connell for the latest episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast.

Pat, for those few who don’t know him is the famous fishmonger who is in that iconic photograph with a smiling  Queen, during her visit to Cork.

Pat runs the very successful Fishmerchants, K.O’Connell, in The English Market, which is now one of the popular attractions in Cork city for locals and visitors.

In the podcast I explored his early career and what it was like to grow up in a hard working, entrepreneurial family where his clever mum, Kathleen understood what was needed to differentiate your business.

While we all take the fantastic English Market for granted, Pat explains how this wasn’t always the case. Just like markets all over the world, it was a very functional, drab, market for locals, which opened a few times during the week and it required the clear vision of a few forward thinking people to change direction and evolve into the special place that we experience today.

Pat’s story is one of a family business and succession. His mum, an early female entrepreneur with a gift for people started this business, which Pat joined full-time after a brief stint working for the City Council. His brother Paul works with him in the business and the next generation of O’Connell’s are also involved..

Like so many stories, there have been bumps along the way, including the passing of his mum, work partner and great friend, Kathleen, which has left Pat and Paul to take the special business into the future.

Pat is a very proud Corkonian, a recent President of the Cork Business Association and anyone who has spent even five minutes chatting to him will understand why he believes Cork is the best place in the world to live and work.

In our chat I learnt a lot about his business philosophy and he also shared some exciting news about a new development with Dunnes Stores, which will be opening very soon in the Bishopstown store.

I hope you enjoy listening to Pat share his story as much as I did!

Click here and enjoy the show..

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

What does the customer REALLY want?

July 9, 2018

Fuzion Communications team

We had our team day planned- we were all heading to Kinsale for the day!!

The mini bus was ordered and I went on a quick off-licence run with one of the guys, nothing mad but a few beers and ciders, something for everyone.

Instead of the mini bus that was ordered a few taxis arrived – my heart sank.

To the taxi company there was no difference between a mini bus and a few taxis. In their book each option got our crew to our destination – isn’t that the point of transportation?

Fuzion Communications team

To me this was a real let down – the team bonding, the banter and the fun and yes, the few drinks together was going to be an important part of our team day, including the journey there and the journey back.

There was no point saying anything – they just wouldn’t get it!

It’s really important that you clearly understand what your customer really wants when they order your product or service …. what do they really want?

Of course we had a great day but it could have been even better.

A big thanks to Hal McElroy of the Trident Hotel , who organised our boat trip with Ocean Addicts.

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

“It’s very quiet….”

December 18, 2017

While staying in the very luxurious Cliff House Hotel (10 year anniversary treat!!) we headed down to the village to explore a little and go for a walk on the beach.

The Cliff House Hotel is located in the village of Ardmore, Co.Waterford which is perched on a cliff alongside a gorgeous beach, a perfect idyllic location on the Irish coast.

As it was a weekday in a cold December, as expected virtually every place in this summer holiday village was shut except for a little grocery store, an art gallery and a cosy, inviting looking cafe.

After a long walk on the cliff and the beach we fancied a cuppa and a treat so we headed to the cafe.

I was imagining a warm bowl of soup, homemade brown bread, homemade treats ….hmmmmm

When we entered, it was empty but it looked pretty with tables covered in bright table cloths and nicely painted chairs.

The man behind the counter didn’t quite match the place – there was a heavy aura around him, that didn’t exactly convey a ‘warm welcome’.

I ordered a coffee and a tea and I took a scone from the ‘serve yourself’ display, placing it on the paper plate provided.

The guy prepared the drinks and served them in disposable cups and placed them in front of him on the counter for us to collect.

Making idle conversation to ease the uncomfortable silence, I asked if he was having a good day – he told us that we were just the second customers all day and went on to say how bad the whole year had been. I could feel the heavy cloud.

This poor man was wearing his negativity like the heaviest ball and chain and it was pulling everything in the cafe down, including the few customers that came through his door.

Ardmore cafe

We sat and had our drinks and looked around the cafe – there was a sign on each table instructing the customers to dispose of their own cups and plates – why?

Why was the tea and coffee not brought to our table in cute homely cups, just like in a ‘tea room’ that this place could easily be?

Why were the treats served in a DIY manner and on paper plates with plastic cutlery?

Why was there very random stuff for sale in the cafe (about a dozen pairs of shoes and two boxes of golf balls!) that had nothing in keeping with the place?

Why did this cafe with oodles of potential not “own” beautiful Ardmore on social media and attract people to the place, with posts encouraging people to stroll on the beach?

Why were the parents of the school kids in the school nearby not meeting for treats before they collected their little darlings?

We finished up as quick as possible and were glad to leave the negativity behind us – we wanted to enjoy our day!

Go on…. make sure you put your best foot forward, make the most of your lovely little place with all of that potential or just hand the keys to someone else!

Are you putting forward the best possible version of you and your business?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The Manager of First Impressions

November 27, 2017

Warm greeting at reception

We arrived at our hotel, parked the car and wrestled with our bags and clothes on hangers so we could get ready quickly to head to a wedding of one of our team, the lovely Edel and her soon to be husband Dave.

I sour puss greeted us as reception as she saw us approaching “Check-in isn’t until 3” she warmly (not) greeted us!

Deirdre explained that she needed to change quickly to get ready for a wedding close-by, so if there was anything at all she could do, it would be much appreciated.

Without too much bother and a click of her screen we were handed the keys to a room that was ready.

How hard was that?!!

We left our friendly receptionist and went to find our room – we passed a woman who was cleaning rooms who gave us a big friendly hello.

We got to our room and neither of our key cards seemed to work …. here we go, I thought !!

Just as we were about to trundle back to our favourite receptionist, another cleaning lady who had seen us struggling with the door asked if she could help.

There is a knack to these doors” she explained as she took the key card from us, quickly swiped and presto, success!

With a big smile, she held the door open for us and wished us a lovely stay.

Maybe she was just having a bad day or maybe, just maybe the wrong person is on the reception desk?

Make sure your Manager of First Impressions is doing just that.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Ryanair – The bit that comes before the Crisis

September 25, 2017

Ryanair - Always Getting Better

Early last week we were asked to comment by the publication Fora.ie about the whole Ryanair fiasco and what we thought of how they handled their crisis.

In a crisis situation we always advise –

  • Don’t hide
  • Quickly establish the facts
  • Be 100% truthful
  • Always provide a solution (or a least be honest about working hard to find one)
  • Don’t be afraid to say sorry (as long as you mean it)
  • Don’t be shy about telling people the good things you are doing

This can be achieved with a combination of holding statements, follow up statements, interviews and implementing any necessary changes.

In the case of Ryanair there wasn’t really a formal apology but Michael O’Leary was door stopped by reporters and did say it was “clearly a mess” but he went on to point out that it was just 2% of their passengers that had been affected. I think Michael is missing the point here about focussing on the good things!

On their website where they have a page dedicated to the cancelled flights they also remind people of this “2%” as well as listing the flights that have been cancelled. They also provide a ‘link’ to a page that directs people to an EU legislation document about entitlements to refunds and compensation.

The words “sorry” or “apologise” don’t appear anywhere!

Ryanair - Cancelled Flights

Understandably customers are irate – Ryanair are not helping the situation by drip feeding news about cancelled flights, their customer contact lines not being managed efficiently and are still overheating their situation by promoting flights at “€19.99”.

Furthermore, they have been denying that part of the problem is pilots leaving to take jobs in other airlines.

This scenario has got even worse with pilots going public with their gripes and painting a pretty awful picture about what life is like working for the ‘low care’ airline.

All of this comes at a time when the airline has been trying to refocus it’s brand with their “Always Getting Better” campaign.

A different scenario? 

So – would it have made a difference if Ryanair were upfront, issued a formal apology and showed genuine empathy with inconvenienced customers and were honest about solutions and assurances going forward?

The answer would be a big “Yes” but there is also a big “But” to contend with.

The effectiveness of this approach will depend on what people feel about the company when embarks on such a course –

  • Do people feel warmly towards the airline?
  • Do they believe that there is a genuine concern for customers?
  • Do they believe that staff at the airline are treated well?
  • Do they believe that this company does charitable work?
  • Do they believe there is a strong moral compass at the airline?
  • Have they communicated the great things (if such things exist) they have been doing to the general public and stakeholders?

Maybe realising this Michael felt there was no point pretending to care?

In a crisis a robust process will definitely help but the best preparation for a crisis is to be good and do good things and communicate this effectively – it is only then that people will be willing to listen to your apology and accept it.

Leopards don’t change their spots and not caring will bite you in the butt eventually.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Crisis Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Back to life

June 20, 2017

Back to Life

….another holiday done.

This time it was with Dee and a gang of family and friends who went to Arezzo in Tuscany in Italy for their very tribal Jousting Festival – if you haven’t been, then check it out as it is a very special ritual that happens twice every summer in the city.

For the most part the whole of our gang stayed together in an Agri Tourism holiday farm development in the country about 15 miles from the city.

We lounged by the pool, we walked in the soaring heat into the local town of Subbiano for the cheapest fresh bread, rolls, prosciutto, cheese and fruit, we enjoyed our coffees and delicious pastries, we joked about how it was impossible to break 5 Euros (it was incredibly cheap everywhere!), we went to a vineyard, we had meals out, we drove to the wonderful Sienna and we sat about day and night sharing beer, great wine, delicious food, endless chit chat and lots of laughter.

Dee and I also spent two days at the beginning of the holiday by ourselves in the beautiful city of Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliet and many superb restaurants.

And now it’s all done, I’m sitting in the temporary boarding lounge at Bergamo Airpost as we make our journey “back to life“, ordinary life, until the next time.

I did manage to unwind a little, I stayed on top of work by keeping an eye on emails each day and I did really enjoy the time with friends and loved ones. 11 days is never enough time to properly relax but you have to make the most of your downtime.

So …normal life waits, the sun is shining in Ireland thankfully, I’m looking forward to seeing the two dogs, Honey and Bert, I’m looking forward to catching up with friends, mum and dad, I’m looking forward to seeing my work buddies and then there is the work itself.

Work – that thing that I seem to spend most of my life on, that thing that seems to give me a sense of purpose, that thing that definitely consumes me.

People talk about Work/Life/Balance and this is mostly measured by how much time you spend working and how much time you have for other things.

For me it all depends on what the “W” looks like – if it’s a grind, providing no satisfaction, then a minute spent working is a minute too much.

I love what I do as we have carefully created something very special, that is interesting, rewarding and challenging. I do know however that you have to have downtime, so that it stays interesting, rewarding and challenging and you are able to apply yourself to it fresh, with energy and enjoyment.

I run that battery down a little too much so I do need to be careful, which is my big post-holiday resolution to myself.

So, back to life?

I’m lucky, It’s a good life..

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The St.Patrick’s Day lost opportunity

March 16, 2017

St.Patrick's DAy

Can you imagine getting off the plane today, 16th March visiting Ireland for the first time. It’s the eve of St.Patrick’s Day, the iconic Irish festival and I wonder what are your expectations?

You have heard all about it, you have seen some footage on the TV, you know about the Irish dignitaries visiting foreign lands pressing the flesh and exchanging gifts of the shamrock. You know about the Irish celebrations all over the world on this special day where the Irish (and so many who would love to be Irish!) celebrate their Irishness. You have heard about Ireland, the friendly, beautiful country that is famous for the warm welcome, the craic and of course the pubs with that iconic drink, Guinness.

You must be excited..

I’ve just parked the car, grabbed a coffee and walked to the office and I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of this visitor – what do they see, what do they experience, what are they thinking?

Except for the window of the Tourist Office you really wouldn’t even know that there was a festival. That poor tourist must be a little confused!

I haven’t come to town to see the parade for donkey’s years (even though I do hear its got a lot better) and I haven’t considered it either this year either despite our office being on the route with a perfect view. Outside of the parade is there anything else that would bring me to town to celebrate my Irishness? I know there are some activities planned around the city for the weekend but the occasion just hasn’t crept inside my skin, it doesn’t connect with me.

Palio

Twice a year in Siena (start and end of the summer) in Tuscany there is a festival called the Palio of ‘Palio di Siena‘ which is basically a local festival that runs for a week each time that culminates in a bare back horse race in the Piazzo del Campo at the centre of the town.

Palio

Every man, woman and child comes out and celebrates. They sing, they parade behind their horses and at night they eat and drink together.

The Guardian refer to it “It’s not a horse race, it’s a way of life” and they talk about it being an “embodiment of civic pride”.

We have been there about six times as I am totally seduced by this special feeling of being connected and part of a community spirit, a coming together.

Everytime I go there I wish and long for something in Ireland that can bring out the same spirit and feeling of community, pride and connectedness –  St.Patrick’s Day should be that day but for some reason it falls short.

St.Patrick’s Day is one of our greatest assets and it should be the most special day in all of our calendars. Every man, woman and child, let’s celebrate together!

How can we make that happen?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service national agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Time to Prioritise Caring

December 30, 2016

Caring

As we roll into another year we inevitably start thinking about the things we have achieved and the things we want and wish for in the new year.

If I was to express my wishes for next year in one word I would choose the word “Caring“.

I’m not sure if it is just now that I feel there is a real deficit of caring in the world, if it is just what I am seeing and reading or whether it is a reflection of my age and if I am starting to think and observe things differently?

I am worried that there is not enough caring in the world and I feel that this year has plummeted with awful incidents in Nice, Berlin, Aleppo and some of the horribleness that we witnessed in the United States by the President Elect, Donald Trump in his campaign.

Lessons in how to win elections were absorbed by a new generation and “caring” isn’t quite the word that comes to mind when you reflect on what we saw being played out for months and months in the lead up to the awful result.

Closer to home our year ended in Ireland with the homeless coming together under the simple ‘Home Sweet Home‘ banner and they occupied an unused office building, Apollo House to put much needed roofs over heads and put a public spotlight on this big issue, which is getting worse and worse. The homeless need this as they can’t go on strike to get attention.

We heard the involvement of high profile Irish musicians including Glen Hansard and Hozier being sadly criticised by some in the media as being a stunt by them to raise their popularity!

What has happened with the way we think about things?

The courts moved in double quick time (they can when they want to) incredibly to process an injunction against the occupants.

The very sad “win” was that the homeless were allowed stay in the disused office building until January 11th – Merry Christmas!!

When living in a disused office block over Christmas is considered a win for those poor temporary residents we have arrived at a very poor state of affairs. Unfortunately this was a win for them – can you imagine?

My wish for the new year is that we start genuinely caring for each other, that we teach our children the importance of caring and let them witness it everyday, that we teach caring in our schools, that we make caring a priority in our workplaces, that caring becomes part of the values that companies live by and that we put caring for people in our communities, on our roads, in our cities and countries before any other criteria.

Let’s start caring.

Happy New Year and a big thank you to all the readers of my blog posts – see you next year!!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Attracting the first customers 

October 6, 2016

Marina at Vilamoura

The shoulder season must be a big challenge for those working in the hospitality industry as there are customers out there but not quite as many as in high season.

We walked along the marina in Vilamoura, which is a beautiful town on the the Algarve in Portugal and most of the restaurants had their “sales people” out front trying to encourage you to choose their place as your restaurant for this night. We didn’t feel like Chinese or Indian so it was easy to walk by these restaurants but when it came to the rest how do you quickly judge them?

Does a place look well, are the prices right, is there a special offer to attract you, is there something different about the place, do customers there look like they are enjoying themselves, does it feel right?

If they look empty then what does everyone know that you don’t so you walk by, if they are too busy then you might also walk by.

With so many couples on holidays I wondered why the restaurants did not bother with candies? – an empty restaurant can transform quickly into an intimate, romantic spot when a special atmosphere has been created.

Eventually we stopped at the restaurant alongside the waterfront that had a good number of customers eating but it wasn’t so busy so we were able to get a seat with a good view.

The waiter cleverly guided us to a spot that helped spread the customers even more throughout the restaurant making it look a little busier than it actually was – he understood the “optics” that a place looking busy would attract more customers.

My lasagna was gorgeous but Dee’s gorgonzola and spinach pasta was strangely missing gorgonsola – we probably wouldn’t be back.

To the front of the restaurant there was a stand selling ice cream and crepes to passing pedestrians strolling on the marina. During the course of our meal the woman looking after the stand didn’t serve a single customer until suddenly one man stopped and ordered a crepe.

Her hot plate was fired up, the deliciously smelling mix was poured over it and the whole area carried the tantalising aroma of crepes being made. Suddenly I so badly wanted a crepe as did most people who walked by – while the guy waited for his crepe more people stopped and queued and then more and more.

The woman within 10 minutes went from having nothing to do to not being able to cope!

People are simple creatures and we often look to others to see what they are doing before we are prepared to commit.

What are you doing to attract your first customers?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland