Yes, we have no bananas

The man spearheading Ireland’s most successful tourist attraction has banned the word ‘No’ in his workplace.

Guinness Storehouse managing director, Paul Carty, said the answer in tourism must always be ‘Yes’ and a positive attitude is required at all times.

“If you are asked if you have bananas, even if you don’t, your answer should be ‘Yes, we have no bananas’,” he told the Let’s Talk Tourism forum in Killarney, Co Kerry at the weekend.

The Guinness Storehouse attracts an incredible 750,000 visitors per annum and it has entertained 42 million since it first opened in 2000.

“The initial investment was €42 million. We could have built a brewery in Africa for that and it would have a much better return but this is what we wanted to do,” he said.

The secret to success, he maintains, is all about customer service, a happy staff and giving the customer what they want.

“I tell my staff to try to approach the customer before they approach them. If they see them walking around looking lost, approach them and help them,” he said.

Mr Carty said his philosophy is to recruit the attitude and train the skill and he likes to take on people who smile.

“We are honest with and supportive of our staff and we present opportunities for them. We pay above, we develop them and they become our ambassadors.

“You can’t treat staff poorly and expect them to go on stage and engage with the visitor. It won’t happen – the body language will be wrong,” he added.

Mr Carty told forum delegates that 33 per cent of the total Guinness Storehouse advertising budget is allocated to digital marketing and it is hugely successful and the company is always seeking innovative marketing opportunities.

A second gravity bar will be built before 2019 at a cost of €16.3 million and the company is developing a 12-acre site at its existing location to provide restaurants, bars, offices and, hopefully, a hotel.

“We hope to have it ready by May 2019,” Mr Carty said.