(Skift) If only I had a nickel for every travel marketer who has told me it’s all about “the experience,” I’d be a very rich person. Alas, I am not paid by the cliché.
Travel has always been about the experience, so companies that think they can distinguish themselves from their competitors by yammering on about it actually aren’t differentiating themselves at all.
A new word, however, slowly seems to be working its way into the marketing lexicon. I’ve been noticing that a few of the most forward-thinking analysts are keying in on intention rather than experience. The idea is that companies must understand their own intention, whether it’s to provide a place of refuge, excitement, or creativity. At the same time, though, it’s every bit as important to understand the intention of the customer. Why is that person traveling, and what is he or she desiring from the experience?
In other words, it’s not the experience itself, but the intention beneath it. One person might be hiking to lose weight, for example, while another might be trying to relax. That’s why customers with different intentions require different strategies even though, on the surface, a company is providing the same experience to both.
Luxury brands need a compelling proposition. For hotels, amazing architecture or a beautifully designed guest room isn’t enough. Those things are expected in luxury, but they aren’t differentiators. It’s the brands that go deep into intention that are able to emotionally connect with their consumers, leading to the loyalty that all hoteliers crave.