Even though customers tend to change and not one customer seems to be the same, they also make things easier for us in terms of identifying their expectations. We just have to learn to identify it. How?
You would have noticed by now that many companies have employed social media managers who are responsible for communicating with customers via platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And it doesn’t stop there. Then came LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest…and Instagram and Flickr and I whatever else. The point is…customers communicate via social media. Not just with companies, but also with friends and family. They share stories and ideas via links on Facebook, they mention good (or bad) reviews on Twitter with creative accompanying hashtags and they create dream boards on Pinterest. What does this have to do with identifying customer expectations? Well…let’s look at a few examples:
Facebook gives you the opportunity to learn more about your followers in numerous ways. Your followers will only interact on posts that they find interesting or worth their while. You can also view your page insights, which shows you who your followers are, where they are from, which types of posts they mainly interact on, how many female and male followers you have and more. You can also view your followers’ most basic information like where they are from and some of their interests. This should already give you a good idea of what they are into and therefore you have an opportunity to act on it. No excuses!
To view discussions on Twitter and the people’s tweets and interactions with your brand is sometimes quite interesting. People’s title descriptions usually also say quite a lot about their personalities and what they would enjoy.
I believe Pinterest to be one of the best ways to identify customer expectations, as this is where people pin everything they would like to have and not necessarily what they have. It includes things they dream about and things they hope for like the perfect wedding dress or the most beautiful presented dishes or creative recipes. If these people are like me, they most probably will never have all these things that they pin to their boards, but it’s never a bad thing to dream. And that’s where you could come in and sweep your customers off their feet! Make their dreams become reality with a popular Pinterest recipe for dinner or plan a contest with a dress similar to the most pinned wedding dress on Pinterest. Identify what your customers dream about and act on it.
Need some assistance in identifying your customers’ expectations? Contact Renate from Travelling Mystery Guest on 082 336 1562 / firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Have a look at Renate’s Pinterest page and identify five of her customer expectations from the list below. The first one to identify all five expectations correctly will receive a Customer Journey Evaluation for your destination for FREE!
Nowadays, with people being on the move, telling your story with words might be quite challenging, as people don’t have time to read. How can you tell your story, capture their attention and have them understand what you are all about?
Sharing Content (Photo by: Marda de Villiers)
Tell your storyvisually – people like looking at and sharing images. Use platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and Facebook, as well as photo blogs. With the typical guest using a dozen different touch points to research their trips, you want your story to be visible on as many platforms as possible.
Combine your hotel’s story with an educational tour around the resort or establishment or an art class that interconnects with your story (tourists prefer interactive and educational experiences these days).
Have your audience take part in your story and take photos of their experiences which you can share with them through social media.
Tell one part of the story today and the other part tomorrow.
Write only a part of the story and ask the audience to partake in a competition to complete the final chapters or to add the visual content to the story.
Why tell your story?
Because “nothing holds attention like a great story”. (MSGroup – Creative Storytellers). According to research the human brain still searches for a story to make sense of information. Stories are universal and therefore they cross the boundaries of language, culture, gender and age. They are told and retold and build a sense of community which in event establishes emotional connections and creates a shared sense of purpose.
By telling your story, you will be able to create emotional connections with your guests which would never have been possible otherwise.
And so the first month of 2014 is already behind us and February is well under way. Many experts have had a look at the travel market‘s stats from last year and here is what they were able to identify:
According to a survey done by American Express Travel, one of the most popular reasons for travelling is arts and crafts.
This is the year for up-selling. With the weakening of the Rand, international travel to South Africa has become even cheaper. Broaden your horizons and up-sell in international countries rather than domestic.
According to the ITBWorld Travel Trends Report2013/2014 there has been a tremendous growth in international travel in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. If you want to start marketing internationally, I suggest you target these countries first.
The ITB World Travel Trends Reportsays that city holidays and holiday tours have been the main driving factors in tourism growth worldwide for the last four years.
2013 was finally the year for mobile according to SocialMedia Today. We can expect an increase in enquiry and booking traffic from smartphones and tablets alike.
A study done by Expedia Media Solutions have shown that travellers visit at least 38 websites on average before they purchase an online travel package. 2014’s challenge will therefore be to keep websites updated, easy to navigate and with all the information a guest might need.
With TripAdvisor now offering meta-search capabilities, hotels will need to have a look at this additional distribution outlet in 2014.
Social media has an increasing influence in the search and planning stages of travel. Keep an eye on visual search sites like Instagram and Pinterest this year.
There’s a definite growing importance of Google+. Don’t miss out on this one in 2014.
Keep a lookout for Millennials (18 – 30-year olds). According to Chris Fair, Resonance Consultancy President, this is a much more ethnically diverse group, making them more interested in international travel. Other characteristics include their interest in urbanrather than resort destinations, their likeliness to travel in pursuit of a favourite interest or activity and the likelihood that they would rather travel with friends in organized groups.
The use of social media with widespread sharing of holiday photos has fostered a new trend. Travellers now want unique experiences which they can share with friends and family via social media ports.
Creative Travel – Interacting with locals
There’s also been growth in creative tourism as Chris Fair calls it. This speaks of travel that provides a connection with those who reside in the destination. Travellers want to interact with locals.
Another travel trend to keep in mind in 2014 is the growth in multigenerational travel. The older the baby boomers get, the more family travel they do and most of these travels are planned around milestone events. These travellers are all about trading memories, convenience and value. Another challenge for destinations this year is to be able to cater for both 6 and 66-year olds.