So it’s Summer holiday season… We have booked some time off work but we haven’t actually booked a place to go.
A friend suggested we wait until the day before and book an amazing last minute special deal. She says she knows someone who does this every year and gets the most fantastic bargains. He send his wife and kids off to pack their suitcases and off to bed not knowing where they will go when they wake up in the morning. Then he hits the internet to see what destinations are going cheap and still have availability at the eleventh hour. They love the thrill of not knowing until they wake up and it’s a big surprise. He loves the thrill of chasing down a great deal when he is up against the clock and the feeling of satisfaction in telling his eager family what is in store for their vacation!
But for me I would hate that.
I’m a planner and I love buying the guidebooks, and reading online reviews to check out restaurants, hotels, villas, places to visit. I like to ask other people who have been to a particular place before me for their top tips. I always buy a map well in advance to get the lie of the land and plan journeys using Google maps.
For me one third of the joy of the holiday is in the planning and anticipation. Imagining myself arriving and the adventures I will have in a new place is a key part of the value of the holiday. Daydreaming about the food I will eat, swimming in the pool or sea, discovering a different culture and people is all as important as actually being there and doing it. Sharing my hopes and expectations with others through conversations helps to get me even more excited and serves to increase my enjoyment of the holiday booking.
Chances are that many of your customers may feel the same. How are you helping them to plan their visit, to prepare for their experience and build anticipation? How can you start to add value before they even cross the threshold of your premises?
Here are some ideas that you could apply in your business:
- Add your location to Google Maps and help people to plan their route with clear information about travel, parking, bike racks etc on your website
- Add information about other useful facilities such as hotels, taxi companies, cafes, nearby places of interest for those wishing to combine a visit to other local attractions or to make a longer stay
- Offer downloadable resources or the chance to buy products online e.g. guidebooks, education packs for schools, activity packs for families so they can be used in advance of a visit
- Run a competition to encourage visitors to engage before they arrive for a visit- e.g. children could download a colouring sheet and upload a photo to a website or social media for a chance to win a prize on arrival
- Run a promotion to seed the idea of buying something from your gift shop – e.g. send a voucher or discount code out with their tickets as a thank you for booking ahead
- Start a conversation on social media with customers asking them what are they most looking forward to with respect to their visit
Think about the anticipation and build-up as being one third of the enjoyment and value of the experience you offer to customers. The actual experience itself can represent another third of the value, while the follow-up, memories and what happens afterwards can be the final part of the joy jigsaw.
In my next guest blog, I will be sharing some more thoughts and idea for how to maximise the value for your customers AFTER their experience with you.
Anwen Cooper is the creator of Get Fruitful Marketing, a programme that helps people realise their potential to grow more passion-fuelled, principled and profitable businesses. Anwen has worked with more than 70 different organisations over the past 15 years, including many of London’s leading arts and cultural venues, and helped drive record-breaking sales through the height of the 08/09 recession. She is the author of the forthcoming Get Fruitful Marketing – The Playbook. You can find out more and get fruitful marketing insights at getfruitfulmarketing.com and on Twitter @getfruitfulnow.