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What’s Your Best Travel Story?

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July 17, 2019

We’re halfway through the summer and like most Miamian’s you’ve probably abandoned the oppressive heat for cooler pastures and new destinations to explore. 

The best travel stories often include mad dash through an airport to catch a quick connection, or an epically long plane ride.  If you can relate, chances are your favourite airline (if you have one), ranks high on the barometer of seating comfort, tasty meals, or a wide range of inflight movie selections.  Yet, more often, our ability to distinguish good vs. bad airlines depends on the length of the flight. Trust me, after 24 hours of flying time, you know whether customer service is a afterthought or a priority. 

So this week, in honor of #summervacay, we’re  asking what  long-haul treks can teach us about catering to customer needs.

Flight Hack No.1:  Follow the Flight Map

Airlines circumvent the “are we there yet?” question by using the flight map feature.  Not only does it provide the ETA and groundspeed, but the entire route towards the final destination.  Is there a difference in other industries? Perhaps not.  In his book “Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers, Jan Chipchase advocates for the use of both the default customer journey map, which diagrams moves from one event to another, and identifies all the prospective touchpoints, as well as the threshold map, which diagram what people experience as they approach or cross a threshold lead them to think and act differently. If you want to better serve your clients, be sure to map out where you are taking them!

Hack No. 2:  Which Cabin of Service?

These days airlines are very, very clear on what you get for your money. If you purchase a basic economy ticket, don’t expect to board first or use the overhead bin space.  The same goes for tiered product offerings.  Don’t forget to make clear for your customer the pros and cons of each level of service.  Manage consumer expectations or they will manage you.

Hack No. 3: Know Your Customer

Attendants who go the extra mile not only remember your name, but your preferences as well.  Inc.’s YEC reminds us to “remember that your clients are humans, not numbers.”  By incorporating a personal touch into your customer acquisition (and retention) strategy you will see a greater ROI on brand loyalty.  YEC’s simple hacks like a private Facebook group, face-to-face interactions, incentivized Q&As to automated and digitized feedback loops.


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  1. Marcelo Salup says:

    In 1977 my two best friends, Mike and Juan, and I went to Puerto Banus, in the south of Spain. Juan had the keys to their summer house there and we found the keys to his dad’s yacht, the Isa 8, a 60 footer. We stole the yatch, went to Africa for a week, had a lot of fun and came back. Back in Madrid, all hell broke loose. We were forced to pay back the gasoline we used, were grounded… the entire shebang. A year later, Juan’s dad casually mentioned that we had not done anything to the yacht (we were all certified as sailors and Juan was taking captain certification courses) so he told us he had bout another one, a Riva Superamerica 60 and invited us to go to Italy to pick it up and sail it back. We went to Milan, by train, picked up the yacht and sailed through the Mediterranean with simple instructions: light to the right (Europe) dark to the left (Africa). We took it to Palma de Mallorca where they had bought another summer home. So… crime punished and rewarded in the space of a year.

  2. Cristina Ramirez says:

    I just spent 10 days in Cornwall, England on a horseback riding holiday. While the trip was splendid, there is definitely a customer service takeaway from the experience:

    Don’t promise your customer something you are not willing to deliver!

    This holiday was billed as a Poldark adventure, touting the magic of the PBS show about a handsome 18th century former soldier, and tin mine owner. While the surroundings were lovely, our host was none too keen on the whole Poldark aspect so readily touted on the website. She actually looked down at those who are so enamored of the program because they arrive lying about their riding experience, giving the guides plenty of headaches.

    I sniffed this out long before I arrived so I was not disappointed in the least as I went for the thrill of galloping across the moor, and spending time with friends. I cannot say the same for all my travel mates, several of whom were dismayed there wasn’t more Poldark.

    Lesson: Don’t promise if you won’t deliver!

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