A Ho Hum Experience

I used to do a ridiculous amount of travel for business.  Now I don’t.  “So what, Barry”, I can hear the rumbles echoing.

So, I’ll tell you what.  When I was a road warrior, I had accumulated all the trappings that accompany such a lifestyle.  The airline club access, the billion mile, premiere, nuclear, titanium status on several airline, car rental and hotel loyalty programs.  I also accumulated the scars too.  But that’s a post for my new self-diagnostic psychoanalysis blog.

The point is that all those perks came at a price.  The price was manifested not only in dollars (spent with all these travel related companies) but in more than a few pounds of flesh in the form of personal sacrifice.  So, I earned it all.  Right?  Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

But, here’s the flip side.  I came to expect it.  I came to expect the upgrades, the freebies and the concierge level perks.  I don’t think I ever developed a sense of entitlement, because of where I came from, how I grew up.  But, did I take a certain level of service for granted?  Sure.  Did that become the new norm?  The new bar to clear?  Absolutely.  And the companies justified the expense because of my lifetime value or some other metric.

By the way.  Those of you that have developed that sense of entitlement because of all the money your company or client has shelled out for you to achieve such status.  Lose it!  Now!  Your not that special.  You didn’t pay for any of this crap.  So, the next time you decide to berate a gate agent or stomp your feet in the aisle because there is no more overhead room for your six bags you brought on board, think twice.  Nobody around you cares.

But then came the day, maybe one of the happiest days of my life, when I lost my status in the last loyalty program.  Now when I travel, I travel with the “common folk”.  And as a commoner, I just returned from a week-long business trip where I flew through five airports, rented three cars and stayed in two different hotels.  And I have to tell you.  It was a ho hum experience.  There were so many missed opportunities to make me go “hey cool! Thanks!” instead of yawn.

If I wanted to simply swipe my credit card, sign the contract and get my car or hotel key, put a kiosk at the desk and let me do it myself.  I don’t need a robotic automaton to do that for me.  And, why would a company continue to staff those desks with expensive resources if completing the transaction and sending me on my way was the only goal? 

No.  If you’re going to have people manning a post like that, take advantage of it.  Every one of those encounters is a touch point, a moment of truth with your brand.  And it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.  Be a little creative.  Such unique experiences are a chance to leave a lasting impression and gain a loyal customer, who one day may take leave of his senses and decide to start living out of a hotel room again 6 nights a week.

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