Forget about micro-moments: here are the Jedi-moments
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the Consumer Journey for travelers used to be simpler and more direct. But the contemporary digital landscape in our world has changed all that.
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Star Wars is a classic example of a hero’s journey that has been used to explain both the structure of storytelling and the structure of the consumer’s journey in marketing and it can specifically be adapted to the consumer journey for travel consumers.
Jedi moments & micro-moments: Understanding the consumer journey
The thing about Luke’s journey in Star Wars is that it’s a long and winding road. It is not a direct straight shot from beginning to end. Compare Luke’s planned journey to the one he actually takes.
His planned journey is this:
Luke flies into outer space
Rescues Princess in distress
This is not what happens when you look at the scope of the original Star Wars trilogy. The journey looks more like this:
Luke flies into outer space
Rescues Princess in Distress
Leaves fellow Rebels and pursues Jedi training
Interrupts Jedi training to rescue friends
Confronts the evil Darth Vader who is Luke’s… never mind, in case you are the one person who hasn’t seen these movies
Resumes Jedi training
Ends Jedi Training and rejoins rebels for final attack
Defeats the Empire
Lives Happily Ever After (maybe until Star Wars Episode VIII…)
Luke Skywalker’s planned journey is like a customer’s planned trip: travel to a destination, experience vacation, travel back home.
But the journey before the journey, the traveler consumer journey, is much more like the journey Luke actually takes. It bounces back and forth between stages before it finally ends up where the travel consumer wants to be: on the vacation of her dreams.
In Star Wars, each of the episodes is a moment in the hero’s journey. We can call these “Jedi Moments.” When booking travel, the stages of the consumer journey are called “micro-moments” because they are generally very brief periods. There are five micro-moments that make up the traveler consumer’s journey. These are:
Like Luke Skywalker gazing beyond the two moons of Tatooine desiring heroic adventure, the traveler’s journey begins with dreaming. During the dreaming phase, the consumer has neither decided on a destination for her trip nor a resort where she will stay. There is a world, a galaxy, of possibilities, and she will be scouring websites and other sources to try and find the vacation of her dreams. These may be websites for particular resorts or Online Travel Agents like Expedia, Hotwire, and more.
Once Luke Skywalker knows his mission is to rescue the Princess, he needs a game plan. And once the travel consumer has decided on a particular destination they need to decide on a resort to book. They will have to choose between you and your many competitors. The consumer will be conducting research using the internet, travel books, thoughts from friends and even by using social media crowdsourcing.
Luke Skywalker determined that Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon are his best bet to fly him to the imprisoned Princess. Once your traveler determines the resort that is the best fit for their travel wants and needs, they will be ready to move on to the booking phase. At this point the chosen resort must have created an excellent customer booking experience. Make booking simple and pleasant and you will be rewarded with a happy customer and a direct booking. If it’s cumbersome, you might lose them to an OTA. Motivate direct bookings with things like exclusive value-adds (e.g. free champagne and strawberry arrival, complimentary robes, etc.) that they can only get by booking direct.
Luke’s adventure to rescue Princess Leia went beyond his wildest dreams. A customer’s experience at their resort needs to go beyond any of their expectations as well. The resort needs to thoroughly delight the traveler at every interaction. Always anticipate their possible needs and meet them where they are. Then go beyond. This will have significant future benefits for your business.
Luke’s galactic adventures were made so much more meaningful because he shared them with the people he valued most, like Leia, Han, and even that little beeping robot R2D2. And when it comes to real life social media, sharing is also everything.