Tourism Buildings – Tricks of the Trade: Be your own Secret Shopper

Be objective using our strategies for
the ‘secret shopper’ or first-time visitor.

Whether you’ve been operating for a long time or are a relatively new business, it can be hard to step back and look at your business objectively, especially from the perspective of a first-time visitor. As tourists as well as professionals, our team regularly visit places for the first time, so we’ve got a savvy perspective on the secret shopper process that works for visitor centres, cellar doors, wineries, galleries, accommodation and many other tourism businesses.

Start right from the street and consider the experience for each of the following groups:

  • the first time visitor
  • the repeat visitor
  • staff and deliveries

Here’s the things we look for on our secret shopper and first visit adventures.

1. What makes people feel comfortable and confident that they are in the right place?

  • Entrance to the grounds and to the buildings
  • Carpark markings
  • Indications that you are open
  • Visible branding
  • Foyer/Greeting point that is welcoming

2. How do people know where to go?

  • Is it easy to get around?
  • Are people welcome to stay? How do they know?

3. What gives people an understanding of product, price and value?

  • Does your building reflect the quality of your product?
  • Do people have an expectation of price?
  • Is it clear what you can buy?
  • Is it clear what else you offer, what other experiences people can have with you?
  • Is it easy for staff to sell?

4. Can people understand your story or at least build some curiosity?

  • Are staff prompted to tell stories by their surroundings?
  • Does your space tell the right story?

5. Do people feel like they know you when they leave?

  • Are people immersed in your business?

Hint for the path forward: Once you have a better understanding of what your customers and staff experience through your business and grounds, use your brand’s personality to build character into your facilities. Need help to make that happen? Give us a call.


For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.