Us­ing the power of rec­i­proc­ity to grow travel brands’ reach and rev­enues

The Insider - - CONTENTS -

We’ve all heard that it’s bet­ter to give than to re­ceive and many of us be­lieve and prac­tice giv­ing be­cause it makes us happy — it con­nects us and makes us more hu­man. So it’s no won­der sci­en­tific stud­ies have sup­ported that premise along with some of the most inspirational peo­ple on the planet.

"The best way to find your­self is to lose your­self in the ser­vice of oth­ers." Ma­hatma Gandhi

When was the last time you gave some­one some­thing they wanted or needed that they weren’t ex­pect­ing? What­ever you did, I bet it felt pretty good, didn’t it?

A while back, a friend of mine who was vis­it­ing Van­cou­ver saw a lo­cal busi­nessper­son buy a meal for a home­less man. The next day as my friend was head­ing to Star­bucks to grab a cof­fee he no­ticed a street per­son sit­ting on the side­walk out­side. Remembering what he wit­nessed the day be­fore, my friend brought the stranger into the cof­fee shop and bought him some break­fast. The barista was so im­pressed she comped my friend his cof­fee. So “giv­ing feels great” is a given, but don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the re­wards in re­ceiv­ing. As they say, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” So if you like to give, you need to also humbly re­ceive so your cup of kind­ness can be re­plen­ished.

The power of rec­i­proc­ity

When peo­ple re­ceive a free gift they re­spond in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent, of­ten un­con­scious, ways. Most feel a real sense of in­debt­ed­ness to­wards the giver — a re­ac­tion coined as the rec­i­proc­ity prin­ci­ple. They ex­pe­ri­ence a gen­uine need to re­turn the fa­vor de­spite the fact that they never asked for the gift in the first place. And so when the ben­e­fi­ciary re­ceives a sub­se­quent re­quest from the bene­fac­tor, they are more likely to re­cip­ro­cate. We’ve all seen it many times and it never seems to get old…

• Free sam­ples at su­per­mar­kets are ram­pant through­out many stores for good rea­son—they help boost sales, of­ten from peo­ple who had no in­ten­tion of buy­ing the prod­uct when they walked in the store. Costco is a mas­ter at this.

• Be­ing of­fered a glass of cham­pagne at a high-end bou­tique helps re­tain the in­ter­est of shop­pers, while loos­en­ing their re­solve and purse strings.

Th­ese acts of gen­eros­ity also get the gift-of-gab go­ing and grow­ing. The Journal of Mar­ket­ing Re­search dis­cov­ered that:

• Re­ceiv­ing some­thing for free in­creases Word of Mouth (WOM) by 20%

• Re­ceipt of free­bies re­lated to a prod­uct re­sults in a 15% in­crease in WOM

• Coupons and re­bates have vir­tu­ally no ef­fect at all

When done strate­gi­cally, this form of psy­chol­o­gy­based mar­ket­ing can be a pow­er­ful in­stru­ment in the ac­qui­si­tion of new cus­tomers and de­vel­op­ment of deeper, longer last­ing re­la­tion­ships with ex­ist­ing ones. Just make sure that you…

• Of­fer a gift un­con­di­tion­ally and make sure they know ex­actly where it came from

• Ask for noth­ing at the time of giv­ing

• Fol­low up later to re­con­nect with the re­ceiver, main­tain­ing the feel­ing of in­debt­ed­ness by con­tin­u­ing to give Sound sim­ple? It is, so don’t over­think it.

Pre­sent­ing a “try be­fore you buy” (i.e. free trial) of­fer won’t in­still a feel­ing of obli­ga­tion on the part of the user. But giv­ing with­out strings can max­i­mize your op­por­tu­nity to re­ceive your just re­wards at a later date.

Thou­sands of ho­tels are al­ready prac­tic­ing the art of rec­i­proc­ity by of­fer­ing peo­ple near or in their es­tab­lish­ment (not just pay­ing guests) ac­cess to the world’s most val­ued and trusted me­dia — more than 7,500 full-con­tent dig­i­tal news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines from over 120 coun­tries.

When a per­son is pre­sented with a generous gift, with­out ever hav­ing to give back any per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, it sur­prises and de­lights them.

The ho­tel gets rec­og­nized for its gen­eros­ity, the pub­lisher grows read­er­ship, and the WOM that re­sults from one small ran­dom act of kind­ness cre­ates a gift that keeps on giv­ing…and re­ceiv­ing.

The ROI of gifted is­sues

Ho­tels and air­lines have been giv­ing away lim­ited se­lec­tions of printed me­dia for decades, but those “gifts” were of­ten for se­lect guests and pas­sen­gers (those in premium cab­ins or mem­bers of loy­alty pro­grams). With PressReader’s dig­i­tal is­sue gift­ing, travel brands can reach out and touch new prospects with a val­ued item that:

• En­hances the brand im­age of the busi­ness

• Strength­ens the re­cip­i­ents’ affin­ity with premium me­dia brands

• Of­fers a fric­tion­less read­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that ap­peals to both tra­di­tional replica read­ers and dig­i­tal na­tives

• Gen­er­ates good will, turn­ing strangers into brand cham­pi­ons

• Cap­i­tal­izes on the power of rec­i­proc­ity

Sow, sow, sow…

When I look around the world to­day, I’m dis­heart­ened by the amount of lip ser­vice many or­ga­ni­za­tions pay to cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Pretty much ev­ery com­pany has faced at least one PR dis­as­ter when their client in­ter­ac­tions didn’t live up to their words.

I’m not try­ing to pick on United Air­lines, but it’s had its share of de­ba­cles over the past year and is pay­ing dearly for them. Sure, it’s easy for us to point fin­gers, but are we re­ally liv­ing up to cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions our­selves?

Ac­cord­ing to Ac­cen­ture In­ter­ac­tive, to­day’s trav­el­ers ex­pect more from travel brands than they’re get­ting. Even the sim­plest things, like per­son­al­ized com­mu­ni­ca­tions, are fall­ing well short. 75% of peo­ple want ho­tels and air­lines to use their pre­vi­ous travel ex­pe­ri­ences to help them make bet­ter fu­ture choices, but only 50% of travel brands are de­liv­er­ing the deep, au­then­tic, and per­sonal con­nec­tions peo­ple want.

We at PressReader work with many of the 50% who get it right — ho­tels, air­lines, pub­lish­ers, and other busi­nesses that seek first to de­light con­sumers with gifts that, as Amer­i­can nov­el­ist, es­say­ist, and poet, Vanna Bonta once said, “have rib­bons, not strings”.

If I have one piece of ad­vice to share with travel brands look­ing to lever­age the power of rec­i­proc­ity to im­prove their bot­tom lines, it would be to make ev­ery year the year of the per­son, and I’m not talk­ing about the one in the mir­ror. Sim­ple acts of kind­ness, to­kens of af­fec­tion, and a cul­ture of giv­ing will make reap­ing what you sow a lot more re­ward­ing for the trav­eler, your em­ploy­ees, and your share­hold­ers.

If you’re in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about PressReader’s Gift­ing pro­gram and how it can grow your brand aware­ness, im­prove your guests’ ex­pe­ri­ence, re­duce your op­er­at­ing costs, and help cre­ate a more sus­tain­able prop­erty, let’s talk!

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