I consider myself to be an easy-going traveler. However, I want to get the most out of the time I set aside for leisure. I want to go at my own pace, even if that means serving myself. I value experiences over material things, and I look forward to the comments I’ll receive once I post my pictures on Facebook and Instagram.
Two weekends ago, I travelled to Quebec City for a wedding at the Chateau Frontenac. I was semi-enthused about the trip. Quebec City is beautiful and I liked the hotel we booked. But I was not looking forward to the 7.5-hour drive to get there. Also, I knew we would be arriving around 2am on Saturday and had to leave by 12pm on Sunday. Not much time to explore and take in the sights.
Despite the deck being stacked against us, I am happy to report that it was one of the best vacation I’ve taken in a while. My husband and I will look back on this trip with fond memories. Despite the success, there were still a few things I would have changed.
1. Let me self-serve.
I knew I would be arriving at 2am on Saturday. The hotel didn’t provide a chat option or a form on their website where I could indicate my late arrival. There also wasn’t a FAQ that addressed how they typically handle this request.
When I arrived at 2am, the lobby was empty. It took my husband walking around and knocking on a few doors before we found the concierge.
Imagine if there was an option to check-in via an app. My virtual key would have been loaded onto my phone and I could have gone straight to my room instead of wandering around the lobby.
2. Proactively engage with me.
I booked the hotel via a third-party travel website. At no point did the hotel reach out to me leading up to my stay. A simple thank you goes a long way.
Imagine a chatbot that immediately sent me a thank you message via SMS or Facebook messenger. In that same message, it would recommend I download their app and inform me about the additional ancillary services available at the hotel.
I didn’t know the hotel offered breakfast, had a spa, or even a gym until we checked out. Breakfast onsite would have been a welcome value add as it took 2 hours Saturday morning to get our breakfast at a local café.
3. Maintain the relationship.
The hotel staff were very friendly and upon checkout there was a sincere “sorry to see you go.” But this was their opportunity to capture my contact information, include me in their email campaigns, and start collecting information about my preferences that could help them personalize my future trip. That didn’t happen. They have now lost out on the opportunity to re-target, upsell, and have me as an advocate of their brand.
I may sound demanding, but this is not exclusive to my generation. During my trip, I happened to overhear a conversation between the concierge and an older guest that could be described as a boomer. The guest requested a paper tourist map (I didn’t know they still made those), took extra time asking questions, and engaged in a lengthy conversation with the bell hop as he loaded their luggage.
What I wanted was quite different from the boomer guest, but there is no reason we both can’t have our optimal travel experience. It’s important for airline and hotel providers to recognize the nuances between travelers and avoid applying a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach as they pursue digital transformation.
Join me in a webinar on July 13th to learn more about the millennial versus boomer traveler and how to balance between technology, such as chatbots, and human touch to deliver truly differentiated experiences that drive loyalty and increase revenues.