8 Considerations in Mapping the Customer’s Travel Experience

Plan in Advance: The trip starts long before a customer is actually on it. So too must your campaign.

Establish Roles: Identifying who is involved in the most critical aspects of the journey over the time period you are mapping is significantly more complex than many anticipate.

Understand the Environment: Knowing where things happen plays a greater role than just a surface level description. For example, when mapping for pre-boarding experiences, large hub airports are significantly different from smaller spokes.

Acknowledge Probabilities:  At each point along the customer’s journey, she has choices as to which of your messages she’ll read, and in what media format she’ll see them. You need to account for – and accommodate – all of the potential avenues across tablet, smart phones, digital signage, TV. We don’t get to pick the path; the customer does, which means there’s only a probability that she’ll see any given message you want to convey.

Needs / Behaviors: Here we’re identifying what the customer needs at a point in time and what behaviors they are exhibiting. We’re also identifying desired end-state behaviors over time that we expect to occur.

Create a Narrative: We humans each participate in the story we call our life. And each of us is conditioned to understand story as an organizing principle. So, in travel customer journey mapping, look to major narrative arcs like the hero’s journey, rags to riches, David vs. Goliath – things we know and understand as framing devices. It helps readers make sense of the flow, and put themselves in the story.

Plot the Circle of Influencers: Map fellow travelers, friends, relatives, co-workers, and social influencers and how they impact parts of the journey. Accounting for these points of influence can better describe particular aspects and actions of the journey.

Generate Content: The types of content assets people consume provide insight into their state of mind. It also provides us with an opportunity to examine what else can be provided in a timely and contextually relevant format.

Remember, people’s reason for being doesn’t revolve around your brand, as terrific as it may be. People seek meaning and value in their lives. Once we understand how people are living we can then use this information to better understand what they really want and ultimately need. Delivering meaningful stories and information to them in the right format, at the right place and time, and adding value to their travel journey – not “selling” or “advertising” to them – will ensure your success.

To learn more about how ICF Olson can assist your organization, contact Michael Hunter, Chief Growth Officer on 610.393.7688