The Holidays Customer Journey: it’s time for an upgrade

The Holidays Customer Journey: it’s time for an upgrade

Holidays – the dreaming, the planning, the booking, the living – are made of a thousand emotions. Giddy excitement to airport boredom; serene escape to booking anxiety; the magic of discovery to panic in the face of the unknown; dreaming of your next trip to mourning the end of another. But the travel industry can always be relied upon for myopic customer journey thinking. In an industry that’s all about the experience, travel brands must think beyond the pain point, consider how they as a band can fit into the wider picture, and make their brand philosophy shine through at every stage.

It is all too easy for an airline or hotel brand to focus only on the elements in which the consumer has direct contact with them. Yes, in-airport apps are useful, but the truth is that the journey begins the moment the consumer starts to dream of their holiday and ends once the post-holiday blues have subsided. Even then, we all know that the time you’re most likely to plan your next adventure is when you’re packing up from the current one. During this journey, there are many opportunities for travel brands to make positive disruptions and ultimately influence purchase decisions. Pinterest must be the genesis and the guiding hand to many an extravagant holiday escapade – so why aren’t more travel companies recreating this wonderful experience together with their customers?

When we talk about positive disruption, we mean more than smoothing pain points. It is about your brand adding value to a journey and also increasing the emotional affinity the customer is able to feel. If you are bombarded with questions about travel insurance just as you’ve forked out half your savings on a holiday, you are not likely to feel as though you are being done a favour. If, however, like Thomas Cook, you offer insurance to those customers who have already arrived at the airport and forgotten to buy it already (who are in no small number), you may have just become the saviours on an otherwise stressful and tiresome day. The brand positively interrupts the usual journey and adds value both emotionally and functionally, showing itself as a friendly and helpful holiday expert.

Holidays and travel are what many of us live and breath (and work) for every day. People want to soak in all they can about the big wide world that’s out there, as well as escape from the smaller, less exciting world around them. It runs through all our life, but as we all know, for most, the stress of the holiday comes in equal measure to the joy. If a brand can join the customer in this journey beyond the confines of its offering, and can make positive disruptions rather than solely focusing on eradicating irritating pain points (which should be a given), they can make a true connection with a customer and increase the chances of brand loyalty and influence purchase decision.

Lucinda Toole Lucinda Toole