Revenge Travel - the 2021 loyal customer persona


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    What is Revenge Travel and Why People Do It

    LinkedIn is overflowing with articles and company news in response to COVID-19. We are starting to see renderings of future casino experiences that are anything but human-centric. People are beginning to ideate publicly about what would happen if the middle seat on an airplane is not sold at market value, but rather billed at an additional $30 per seat to remain empty.  We are listening to webinars that predict how dining experiences will change radically. Could revenge travel be part of that change?

    As professionals, and as travelers, we are all asking what happens next?

    Introducing Revenge Travel

    Here at The Petrova Experience, we have been waiting patiently for the right time to talk about revenge travel. Today, this topic makes perfect sense.

    In all the noise of post-COVID predictions, it is beginning to feel like people are forgetting that humans are a social species. We do not do well alone. Science (and life itself) teaches us that. Having diverse perspectives and experiences provides points of view that are different from our own. These interactions expand our horizons and enrich our lives.
    In a way, travel takes customers out of their comfort zones. It stretches them to grow and become more enriched versions of themselves. Many of us have had the most beautiful conversations with a stranger on a cross Atlantic flight. I met one of my closest friend on a flight to Europe 12 years ago. I met a fellow board member at my non profit on another flight 13 years ago. These were the times when we did not have WiFi or computers on the planes, and could really talk and connect with our fellow passengers.


    The concept of revenge travel is built on the belief that many of us share, that customers will look at travel as a gift. And, once it opens up again, those customers will add more destinations to their lists and will travel even more than they did before.


    Initially, I heard about revenge travel from a close colleague in the hospitality industry. She is leading a global revenue management organization and is using the concept as one of her future scenarios. At first, I thought that the idea of revenge travel might be too optimistic and unrealistic. But then I realized that I am one of the people who will practice revenge travel!


    For aviation geeks like me, traveling is like taking a deep breath. Without travel for a long stretch of time, I start to feel like I am suffocating. Our followers know that my last flight was, indeed, on March 11th. Make no mistake, I have already planned at least two trips to Florida for the summer, one international trip to Europe, and one more trip somewhere for the winter break.


    None of this includes the business travel that is on the horizon. And, these plans are before my revenge travel kicks in! I recognize that people like me are a fairly small percentage of the world. Research tells us 13% of Americans have never even been on a plane. But that does not mean that there isn’t an equivalent number of people like me on the other end of the spectrum.


    Why is this kind of travel important?

    In the next few months, trust will be the primary concern on people’s minds. Everyone on this planet will be observing the behaviors of others, analyzing the data they collect, and concluding whether it is safe enough to travel.


    As we have said in the past, people have different risk profiles. Some are very risk averse. Others, like me, are more open to taking chances. It will be important that revenge travel does take place and that all of us revenge travelers take our phones and share our journeys on social media.


    And, it will be important for those less adventurous types to continue to see data about safe travel  and good experiences, in order for them to take the plunge. So, fellow travel and hospitality fans, book one extra trip this year. Fund it by spending less money on food or drinks for a month, or by making more sustainable living decisions (i.e. do not buy that extra pair of jeans). The cause is worth the investment.


    It just may save our beloved industry!

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    Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.

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    Organizational Culture and Access to Information

    By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet.  It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.

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