Standardized products and services lose appeal as time goes by, also in the tourism industry. Different needs, motivations, sensitivities and values require adapting the service to some extent, no matter how vast the available range of competing services. It will never be vast enough to fully satisfy all customers, not even all those who can afford customizing their experience. Many tour-operators are witnessing significant increase of demand for their tailored packages.
Personalization is not only a plus to fully satisfy customers, but an opportunity to gain their loyalty and desire for recommendations, and so make your marketing system leap forward to “customer loyalty & recommendation model”, far more profitable than “customer acquisition model” as explained in a previous article.
Personalization can affect all aspects of the tourism experience: transportation, accommodation, food, and activities. And it is about adding a personal touch either requested by the customer or as an initiative from the operator after gathering information about the customer’s interests, preferences, motivations and desires. It is always better to take the initiative in collecting this type of information and then being able to provide a positive surprise to the client. This is actually an opportunity to give your clients a memorable experience, spur emotions that they will never forget, and make them talk about the destination and the operator, and results in the best marketing you can ever get.
It is mainly about going beyond what the brochure promises, meeting requests but also excelling expectations. It is about creating experiences and feelings that inspire memorable moments and little stories. And that is what makes the difference between an average and a memorable holiday.
Some aspects that help in personalization can be the arrangement of self-guided tours in accordance with the preferences and availability of the client without having to follow the discipline of the group. Other aspects are related to special needs regarding disabilities – physical or language barriers, for instance – preference for some specific kind of food, etc. but the killer personalization are the unexpected experiences: for instance, being able to meet people who can explain stories related to the special interest of the customers, or let them visit some sites that are not open to the public regularly. Anything that makes the customer feel he is being treated as an exclusive guest is a plus of personalization.
You can read more detailed information and examples about personalization marketing in tourism in the article “5 Ways Personalisation Marketing is Used in the Tourism Industry”.
Sources: Emirates Holidays, www.refvine.com, ABTA