You often hear about travelers having brand loyalty to a particular airline or hotel company… And you often hear about avid cruisers having brand loyalty to a particular cruise line, or even ship…
But how does that brand loyalty start?
Does the traveler actually do detailed research, meticulously compare all the options, and finally select the brand that is right for him/her?
Or does the traveler more or less stumble upon the brand, have a satisfactory experience, and simply stick with it?
Using an example from my own personal experience in Reykjavik, Iceland, I fall into category 2. For my first trip to Reykjavik, I chose Hotel Klöpp based on location and price. I’m not an “amenities woman”; I just need a comfortable and convenient place to sleep with a bit of breakfast in the morning. This hotel fit the bill.
For my second trip to Reykjavik, I chose the same hotel because I knew it was a positive experience. Upon arrival, I discovered I had been upgraded to their Hotel Þingholt , a much swankier hotel with beautiful fresh orchids in the lobby and rooms furnished with horse-hair rugs, black leather upholstery, and chrome fixtures. This was more than I needed, but damn it was a good experience, too!
Now on my third overnight trip to Reykjavik, I chose the upgraded hotel! Maybe that was the company’s ploy all along?! But in any case, my newfound brand loyalty to them came out of pure luck.
Another question – can the concept of brand loyalty be applied at the destination level?
Can a traveler fall in love with a place and keep going back and back and back?
Or will he/she live by the motto: “The world is too big, and life is too short, to do the same thing twice!”?
Using another example from my own personal and professional experience in Greenland, I have to say that I think most people fall into Category 1… but they do have the potential to fall into Category 2 IF they find the destination(s) that truly fulfill all their motivations, dreams, and desires about travel.
Of course, I am a bit biased to Greenland having crossed the line from tourist to part-time resident, but I have found myself in Category 2. You cannot convince me otherwise that if I had experienced Greenland as a true tourist in 2012, I would have already gone back for trip #2 by 2013. And I would be planning ahead for trips #3, 4, and so on.
Greenland fulfills every hope and dream I never knew I had, and I can distinctly remember the feeling I had when I first landed in East Greenland on 26 May 2012. I felt as though I did not need to see another place on this planet to feel so fulfilled… And that feeling remains today.
I have cultivated brand loyalty to Greenland!!