The ‘customer journey’ is the current industry buzz phrase – particularly the customer’s digital journey. All the industry events I’ve attended or delivered recently have, in part, focused on what your customer may need or want and how they access information about your business before, during and after their visit.
I spent some time at an excellent workshop recently at Cameron House with Scottish Enterprise and Love Loch Lomond that VisitScotland supported. Scottish Enterprise was offering a small group of businesses advice on how to recognise and segment their own customer base and how to plot their customer journey – basically the journey visitors go on from initial booking, through every touch point of their holiday to returning home.
We used the VisitScotland UK market segmentation as a guide to work out what type of visitors went to each business and what the owners thought their customers would want at every stage of their journey. We talked about where they would start their journey, be it online on TripAdvisor or an online booking site, or in a brochure or newspaper. We covered every aspect of their trip and it was a very interesting exercise; one that the businesses in attendance found rewarding.
As an adventure seeker myself, I personally start my journey by finding an area in Scotland to visit from seeing a photo of a stunning landscape on Twitter or Instagram. I’ll almost definitely do some research on visitscotland.com and only book online so make sure you are digitally integrated. If that seems daunting and you are Quality Assured, why not book a digital review with your Industry Relationship Manager who will show you how to make the most of your online presence?
I’m the perfect example of how visitors are evolving – with more and more people using digital channels before, during and after their visit. In fact,64% of visitors now book accommodation online, with a further 20% booking directly with providers after sourcing the best deals online.
I will search for accommodation by price and star rating and look at reviews of your business on TripAdvisor. More often than not I’ll discount the very worst and very best TripAdvisor reviews from affecting my decision and use this knowledge to complement what I already know from your Quality Assurance star rating as a trusted and impartial source of information.
I’ll then have a look at what I want to do before I go but I won’t book any activities; I’ll usually just play it by ear and then annoyingly turn up at your door in high-season expecting to sneak on to the next distillery tour or boat trip. Sorry.
Over and above the basics, I won’t need much from my accommodation, probably just a couple of maps, where to spot some wildlife, somewhere secure and dry to store my bike and a recommendation for a couple of decent pubs and restaurants. Personal recommendations are so important in providing that authentic experience – something that visitors actively seek out and businesses should respond to. I’ll likely cook most of my own food too so if you have a deal with a local butcher or fishmonger then send me their way!
Then I’ll leave quietly and relaxed only to add to your excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and thank you on Twitter or put up some photos on Facebook and Instagram of my trip.
That’s my journey, what’s your customers’?
The segmentation gives you a great guide to your potential customers and some tools to target a certain group through a wide range of media including what type of websites they are likely to visit.
On top of digital reviews, we also offer and support via events based on knowing your customer and integrating your business better with digital media. We also promote partner events that are designed to support industry in this way.
You can view the events programme and take up some of the training opportunities on offer at http://www.visitscotland.org/business_support/events_and_training.aspx