Can customers’ demand for an experience ever go too far?

by Digital Europe

Posted on 02-01-2018

When it comes to expe­ri­ence busi­ness­es, there’s one sec­tor that has to go fur­ther than any oth­er: trav­el and hos­pi­tal­i­ty. Why? Because the expe­ri­ence they pro­vide is at the core of the prod­uct they are try­ing to sell. A sin­gle poor moment may be enough to com­pro­mise an entire holiday—and con­sumers are more than hap­py to share their views widely.

This month marks 17 years since the found­ing of Tri­pAd­vi­sor, arguably the largest trav­el review brand in the world, boast­ing over 500 mil­lion hotel, accom­mo­da­tion, attrac­tion and trav­el-relat­ed busi­ness reviews gen­er­at­ed by more than 315 mil­lion mem­bers glob­al­ly. Essen­tial­ly, the expe­ri­ence on this expe­ri­ence busi­ness is the pro­vi­sion of infor­ma­tion to ensure your expe­ri­ence is pos­i­tive when you expe­ri­ence your trav­el expe­ri­ence. Did you get that? Phew.

But the ques­tion is, what hap­pens when a trav­el brand is chal­lenged? Can a customer’s demand for an expe­ri­ence ever go too far?

Ear­li­er this week, Busi­ness Insid­er report­ed on a case faced by an air­line when a cus­tomer attempt­ed to board a flight with an emo­tion­al sup­port pea­cock. Yes, you read that correctly—a peacock.

Amer­i­can air­lines are see­ing increas­ing demand for emo­tion­al-sup­port ani­mals to board flights. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, not all ani­mals are per­fect, and prob­lems are aris­ing. Accord­ing to Busi­ness Insid­er, Delta Air­lines has seen an 84% increase since 2016 in inci­dents involv­ing improp­er­ly trained ani­mals, includ­ing uri­na­tion, defe­ca­tion, and attacks on pas­sen­gers and crew mem­bers. What’s good for one cus­tomer expe­ri­ence may not nec­es­sar­i­ly be good for all. So where does an expe­ri­ence busi­ness draw the line?

Also this week, a lead­ing tour oper­a­tor announced a new inno­va­tion allow­ing its cus­tomers to pre-book and pay for reser­va­tions on pool­side loungers for the dura­tion of their hol­i­day. Feed­back has been mixed with some rav­ing about this inno­va­tion as a way to improve their hol­i­day expe­ri­ence. No more ear­ly morn­ing sprints to ensure their per­fect loca­tion! Oth­ers com­plain about the added cost and the feel­ing of a two-tier hol­i­day expe­ri­ence, depend­ing on income. Once again, what’s good for the goose might not be good for the gander.

How can an expe­ri­ence busi­ness win? Are their risks and issues an expe­ri­ence busi­ness needs to take into account when reach­ing for the next lev­el? What chal­lenges, oppor­tu­ni­ties, pit­falls and prais­es have you gone through when devel­op­ing your strate­gies and ideas? Share your com­ments below.

Topics: Digital Transformation, expérience, hospitality, Travel, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA