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Bon Voyage – on my way to the Canary Islands

2 July, 2010

While sitting at the airport, before departing to the Canary Islands for my vacation one thing I noticed was the abundance of iPhones and how much of daily life they have became since their launch. While browsing TripAdvisor.com to research the hotel I would be staying at, one thing became instantly clear – We need to find a way to include Hurtigruten in people’s everyday lives, even more so than ever before.

Departure lounge

My family had planned the vacation and the only details I knew were we were flying from Gatwick to Fuertaventura, and that it would be a sunny +26 C. While waiting to depart, I began researching the hotel by visiting the website, and then visiting tripadvisor.com to hear what previous guests had thought of the hotel, and the Island itself. With an average review of 4 out of 5, I was pleasantly pleased, and then I began thinking “what if the review had a less than stellar review?”

Of course, most people review their hotel before arriving at the airport, but a nice little feature would have been to suggest similar hotels, or hotels with a better rating nearby. My step-father joked that if the hotel did not have AC, he would book us into the nearest Hilton, but a one click option to book a different hotel would be perfect in this scenario. For the first time since joining the Hurigruten project, I began to actually think like the customer, because this time, I was.

Think Like a Customer

To think like the customer in any profession is very difficult because after weeks or months, you become further and further embroiled in the project. But now that I am thinking like a customer, I can brainstorm on what features I would like to see between booking and taking off/setting sail.

  • An email with the departure details, and address of harbour
  • An SMS 24 hours before departing with brief overview of trip
  • A link to previous travelled passengers reviews of the trip
  • A link to book or change any hotel/transfer arrangements

The above is what I have experienced today, and is something that Hurtigruten are very close to implementing. All these should be available via web/iPhone so at the touch of the button, you can change most arrangements if necessary.

It’s all about making things as easy as possible for the customer. If I’m on vacation, I am out to relax and take time out from worrying. It can be very stressful to book a trip, especially with family and I want as fewer clicks as possible to make me feel comfortable.

Making things difficult

My step-father had to book a separate journey home to arrive back in work so he booked with Ryanair. It turns out they did not email him confirmation and he had to log in to his account to print out his booking confirmation. And I quote “A pain in the ass!”

Booking with ease

I’m travelling with 8 family members. Some are asleep on the plane, and some are so frightened of flying they are scared to blink but I am confident we will have a great time. My next big project for Hurtigruten is to work with family/ group bookings and as I now am thinking like a customer, I will make sure we make it as easy and as comfortable as possible. Ideas like chatting live with a groups agent for small edits/updates on your bookings, and an easy request form on the web are the first steps. Small steps are working out much more easily than giant steps…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. baktusbror permalink
    2 July, 2010 09:37

    I do agree with you Steven, and as the iPhone and Android grow in numbers among our guests we should make a workflow on how we can best help the guest, by giving her:
    1) Superior information, when she research – i.e web and catalogues
    2) Superior contact-points to Hurtigruten – ease of contact – i.e web, phone
    3) Superior travel information close to departure – including on-time info, hotel info, – i.e iphone/android app, SMS
    4) superior voyage information – on board arrival/departure messages, excursion details, what to see, etc – i.e iphone/android app, SMS.
    5) Post voyage info. Where to rate the experience, where to upload images and videos, how to become an ambasador – i.e mail, web etc

    And I have not mentioned the upgrading and upselling, where there are an abundance of new possibillities.

    Robert

  2. 5 July, 2010 16:36

    We are definitely on the right track, and it will be great when we one day we can look back and see how much progress has been made since our meeting in Tromso, and then set new goals 🙂

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