Get­ting emo­tional

Onboard Hospitality - - Focus On -

Pro­fes­sor Dr Michaela Merk be­lieves you can trans­form your pas­sen­gers into am­bas­sadors

only if you touch their emo­tions as they travel. Here she ex­plains how

Speak­ing at Formia’s an­nual Fo­rum 365 dur­ing WTCE, Merk, an ex­pert in lux­ury brands and con­sumer be­hav­iour, iden­ti­fied five key emo­tions that can truly touch and im­press a pas­sen­ger: trust, pride, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, recog­ni­tion and pas­sion.

She said: “With­out pas­sion, noth­ing hap­pens. Your busi­ness has to trans­mit pas­sion and it does that through your team. Be sure they can tell the story of your prod­uct, and cre­ate visual clues across the pas­sen­ger ex­pe­ri­ence that build the value of your prod­uct and touch emo­tions. Pas­sion is con­ta­gious and is trans­mit­ted like fire.”

Make pas­sen­gers proud

Trust is trig­gered through first im­pres­sions, she says, so a truly au­then­tic, gen­uine wel­come counts for a lot. Pas­sen­gers also need to iden­tify with your brand's val­ues and feel they re­flect their own hu­man val­ues. She says:

“Hav­ing a great con­cept isn't enough. Pas­sen­gers need to feel com­fort­able in the en­vi­ron­ment you put them in – it needs to smell pleas­ant and be warmly lit, with touch­points such as fab­ric, art or plants that com­mu­ni­cate a sense of home. Your brand's DNA must be re­flected in the prod­uct you of­fer.”

You can give your pas­sen­gers a sense of pride in the choice they have made to travel with you by be­ing in­no­va­tive and dif­fer­ent she says. “Con­sumers love to be as­so­ci­ated with a brand that is a trend­set­ter. If you pro­mote your brand as mod­ern, in­no­va­tive and pi­o­neer­ing they will be proud to know they are part of some­thing new and dif­fer­ent.”

Ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions

When it comes to re­wards, she says brands get real thanks when they ex­ceed their clients ex­pec­ta­tions. “Give your pas­sen­gers some­thing they don't ex­pect and you will win recog­ni­tion from them. Per­son­alise the of­fer or give them a thank-you gift, make them see you recog­nise them as an in­di­vid­ual and they will re­ward you with their re­peat busi­ness in the fu­ture.”

In con­clu­sion she en­cour­ages busi­nesses to pri­ori­tise pos­i­tive first im­pres­sions and brand per­son­al­ity. Add touches to make pas­sen­gers feel at home and per­son­alise the of­fer.

It's not just about the prod­ucts you of­fer she in­sists but in the way you present and po­si­tion those prod­ucts, the ser­vice and ex­pe­ri­ence around them. She says: “Con­sumers are all dif­fer­ent but they have one thing in com­mon – they all want a unique ex­pe­ri­ence. They will say some­thing was awesome, as soon as they are touched by emo­tion. It is these emo­tional con­nec­tions that bring value to your of­fer.”

Pas­sion is con­ta­gious and is trans­mit­ted

like fire

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