Choosing Holidays

Certain

SATURDAY 3RD FEBRUARY 2018

I’ve been referring to holidays a lot recently. It’s because they are wrapped up with so many layers of influence and decision-making.

Holidays are expensive outlays and we don’t get to go on many of them, so we go to great lengths to make sure the ones we choose will give us the kind of experiences we are hoping for. We want them to be memorable for all the right reasons.

In the past we used to visit a travel agent who would work with us to tailor a trip based on our preferences. However, thanks to the internet, the power of information has shifted, and we can now assemble our own trips online. We can choose our own flights, hotels, ground transportation, meal packages and days out. But with all the given variables this means there are literally millions of possible combinations we could assemble, and if we want to have the perfect trip it raises the pressure on us to choose well. That’s when simplifications, shortcuts and decision tools come in handy for us.

Let’s imagine you wish to book a holiday. How do you choose yours? How do you choose which airline you travel with, how much you spend, where you can visit when you get there?

So pause for a moment and ask yourself, when you are organizing a holiday, which factors influence you in choosing the trip you want and which sources of information do you use?

• Price
• Star rating of hotel
• Photographs of the resort, rooms, pool, nearby town etc
• Trip advisor (or similar) reviews about the place you are thinking of staying
• Direct flight from an airport near you
• Word of mouth from a friend
• Experience and memories of a previous visit
• From a trusted source – such as a well known holiday website or travel company
• Your past experience with an airline
• The predicted weather

You might not think of it in this way, but all the steps we take when planning for a big purchase, like a holiday, are examples of us seeking certainty – so we know what we are going to get.

A couple of questions… Would you consider staying in a resort where you hadn’t seen any pictures? Do you read reviews? And if so, do you continue to read reviews of the place you are staying after you have booked your trip? Or at that point do you not want to know if there is anything negative?

Let’s step up the ante a little. Having a bad experience on holiday is an expensive way not to have fun, but we can probably book another one next year. But what about those decisions that are rarer and where the stakes are far higher. How do you choose where your child attends school? How do they choose their university and the degree they want to do? How do you choose where you want to have your hip replacement operation carried out? How do you choose your next job? Or your next home?

In what ways can you help your customers to know much more about what they will get with you, to reduce the risk that they are making the wrong decision? Can you publish more images, descriptions, stories, testimonials and reviews about what to expect?

And not just facts and data, but the kind of information that will help them truly anticipate what the experience will be like.

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