Brand Loyalty – Food for Thought

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!!

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4 thoughts on “Brand Loyalty – Food for Thought

  1. I think brand loyalty starts from a combination of different factors – and it’s based on fulfilling the desires you think are most important. Glamour, quality, price – everyone has different touch points!

    Perhaps you might try something, and then find out you like it. That is why they give you tasting food to try at the shops sometimes.

    Price might be a deciding factor to try a product, but it is not the decisive breaker, unless two products are entirely the same quality. Perhaps value is another consideration.

    Another thing is continually good experiences. For example, I love Singapore Airlines, because they always live up to a certain standard and their air attendants are amongst the most refined in the world. And now they have 10 kg extra for each class…I just think that’s amazing =) I would pay a little more to fly with them.

    For me, I think brand loyalty starts from something looking visually exciting and being of a good quality. Still, even if I’m loyal to a brand and ‘follow’ it, it may not mean that I would purchase that brand if I couldn’t afford it. E.g. I’d love to go to Bora Bora, but I would probably end up opting for somewhere cheaper instead. If the cheaper works, and still fulfils all of my desires (except for the fact that it’s not Bora Bora) then I’d probably stick to it. Still…. one day I dream of getting to Bora Bora!

    I think you are definitely a special case having had so many positive experiences in Greenland – but I wouldn’t say that your experience was touristic even from the start!

    • Good ideas!! I think price and time are the biggest concrete barriers to travel/loyalty! But like you say with Singapore Airlines, you are willing to pay a little more to fly with them! You are making me want to fly with them, actually, and meet these ultra refined attendants 🙂

      See you soooooooon!

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