Amazing Landscapes From A New Perspective
There is something magical that happens when we see something from a different perspective. Heading out on the water and floating down the river gives us that opportunity.
The adventure is much more than the time we spend together on a tour. We need to consider the guest’s experience at each step of their journey to ensure a consistent connection with our brands.
This starts with having empathy for the guest and their needs, considering how we can best help them experience their adventure rather than focusing on what we want them to do or feel along the way.
This is the approach we use for everything we do, including experience development, sales and marketing. That’s why we believe that crafting adventures must cover the entire journey, from our first interactions with the guests before they even begin to plan their adventure to reinforcing the memories afterward.
It also means taking into account other aspects of the journey, considering how the adventure fits within the overall destination experience and the travel required to get here.
A journey map is a tool we use to better understand the needs of our guests. It helps us identify areas we can improve upon, find opportunities for new experiences and tailor our messages at each step of the journey, from dreaming of adventure to the return home afterward.
It’s a versatile tool. We use them to look at the way things are now and to consider what a future state could be. We use them at the brand, destination and product level. It helps us get out of the “industry bubble” and look at things from the guest’s perspective. The important thing to remember is that the goal isn’t to have the perfect map; it is only a tool we use to create better experiences for our guests.
The steps we use closely follow the hero’s journey, a popular storytelling framework that is well suited for real-life adventures. As we craft and facilitate adventures the journey helps us keep a holistic approach to the guest’s experience. Let’s have a look at each of the steps.
The dreaming stage starts with the guest enjoying regular life in an ordinary world. The call to adventure comes in various forms, often related to seasonal changes or life events. They already have a dream list of places they’d like to visit or things they would like to do, built from media stories, social media content and recommendations from friends.
Travel is often complicated, however, even for a simple weekend getaway. The thought of finding the time and organizing the logistics can lead them to refuse the call to adventure, at least for the time being.
We all need help from time to time and going from dreaming of an adventure to making it happen is one of those times. It’s an exciting time but it can also be overwhelming and stressful. A mentor helps them through this stage, providing guidance, advice and the information they need to be confident they are embarking on the right adventure for them.
They are ready to cross the threshold and commit to the adventure. The plans are finalized, the dates are confirmed and bookings are made. This is an exciting time, dreams are becoming reality.
This is a time of excitement and trepidation for the guest. The commitment has been made and they are eagerly awaiting the start of the adventure. At the same time, they are now thinking about the small details. Questions like what to bring with them and what the weather will be like were overlooked earlier but are now at the top of their mind.
As they begin the physical journey to our destination, they’ll encounter their first positive experiences but also their first challenges. These will set the tone for their adventure with us, amplifying the excitement or trepidations already present.
It takes some time at the start of the experience for the guests to become comfortable. The excitement and trepidations built in anticipation are still there and now new questions arise: will I be able to do this, did I pick the right adventure, are my adventure partners going to like this?
This leads to the challenge part of the adventure. This involves doing things that are new and different for each guest, doing things that can be a little scary but that also makes them curious to explore further.
The reward for completing the challenges are those special moments, those times that give goosebumps or when everything suddenly makes sense. These are made even better by the challenge that was just completed and the connections made along the way.
The way back is a time to contemplate what was just accomplished, to enjoy the peacefulness that follows a goosebumps moment. It’s the beginning of the return journey. Taking the time to reflect on the adventure helps reinforce the memories and capture the emotions experienced throughout the journey.
The guest returns to a new ordinary world, filled with excitement at the new memories made. This is a time for sharing, telling tall tales and a little bragging.
SALES FUNNEL, PATH TO PURCHASE AND JOURNEY MAPS
The differences between the three can be subtle and for our purpose are mostly irrelevant. The difference that matters to us is one of mindset and perspective. All three approaches are visitor-focused, centred around the experience of the guest throughout the journey. In sales funnels and path to purchase the focus is usually on what we want the guests to do at each step and what we need to do in order to get the guests to take those actions.
The journey map is built from the guest’s perspective, looking at what they need and want as well as the emotions they experience at each step of the journey. It starts with empathy.
The other difference is in the interactions considered. A sales funnel or path to purchase map typically focused, as their name implies, on the touchpoints that exist up until the booking is made. A journey map on the other hand considers the entire journey, including the adventure itself and the return to the ordinary world.
Our role, whether we are involved in marketing, sales, guiding a tour or preparing a meal is to provide guidance and assistance for our guests. The journey map helps us remember that the heroes are our guests and the star is our amazing destination.