Moins promettre pour surpasser les attentes? par Frédéric Gonzalo
During a recent Clubhouse discussion about how travel marketing needs to adapt as we emerge from the ongoing pandemic, someone mentioned how traveler expectations had changed in recent months. More specifically, the conversation led to the fact that many consumers yearn to get out there and travel… yet the travel industry may not be ready to welcome them. This reminded me of a text I had written on this blog in May of 2011… 10 years ago!
Let’s take a closer look at this very real challenge in travel marketing.
A friend of mine recently traveled to Florida for Spring Break with her teenager and other friends. Hotels were packed, restaurants were full with waiting times of up to two hours. No surprises here, so far. But here’s the thing: hotels were charging the full price, and then some! Yet hotels were not able to provide their usual level of service. No housekeeping, or very minimal. No seated hot breakfast, replaced by continental grab-and-go boxes.
Same with restaurants. Usually, you want to have a nice meal with friends, but hardly expect to wait over two hours just to get seated. And once seated, service is excruciantingly slow and food may arrive lukewarm. There is therefore a huge gap between what we expect as travelers and what the industry is able to deliver.
The “Promise” part of the equation is what we tend to do as marketers. It’s the content we share in brochures, in videos, images, paid advertising, our website and social media. It’s how influencers convey their experience at our resort, our restaurant, using our car rental services or living it up in our destinations. We basically paint a beautiful picture, in order to convince travelers to choose our products and services over our competition.
So when a standard room at your hotel usually sells at $350, what will the customer expectactions be when that same room goes for $600 during Spring Break? This is common yield management practice in the industry. But what has been common for Revenue Managers since the past two decades (at least) may not fly well in today’s context when travelers may feel cheated out.
In other words, up until early 2020, travelers would accept paying that $600 knowing they would still receive a level of service that justifies (to some extent) the price tab. But now? It’s tougher to argue… and we are seeing it with online reviews and more critical comments left on various digital outposts.