August 22nd, 2014

One night in Seattle and a road warrior’s “insight” from it

I am a road warrior and I am also one of those 173 million folks in the US who have downloaded apps on their smartphone (according to ComScore smartphone market penetration is approximately 72% today and this number is predicted to increase to 75% by the end of year).  Like most of the road warriors, I have my preferred travel partners – airline, hotel, credit card companies, and mobile carrier. I am loyal to them and expect that they return my loyalty in ways that makes my travels easier. Then, there are those rare occasions when I do get a break and I can pack a bit of fun into my trip. It was one of such occasions on my recent business trip to Seattle that I got an insight into how my partners may be missing opportunities either from ignorance that opportunities like these arise and exist or they are aware and have not quite caught on to how to leverage today’s technologies to capitalize on such opportunities.

Here’s what happened and my insight developed…

This was my first time to Seattle.  I flew my favorite airline, stayed at my favorite hotel chain, booked it all on my credit card and of course had my mobile with me the whole time. I arrived on a Thursday and left on a Saturday, leaving me a Friday night to explore the new city, which I love to do. The weather was fantastic; I was set to have a GREAT Friday night.

After my Friday business meeting wrapped up, I ran to my hotel, changed clothes and got a car to take me to Pike’s Market for a solo night of walking around, dinner, some live music and whatever else I came across. I got dropped off, and spent hours walking around, clutching my mobile phone to take pictures that I would share with my wife and kids. I popped in and out of various random shops (looking for souvenirs for my young kids) and looking for live music venues as well as getting dinner which turned out to be at a so-so sushi restaurant that I happened upon. While I was definitely having a good time, it certainly wasn’t the great time it could have been.

I came upon the realization (the insight) that my travel partners– my airline, my hotel, my credit card company, and mobile operator – had really blown it. They had a perfect opportunity to help me maximize my experience in Seattle. Let me explain…

My airline knows I am faithful to them and that they’ve never taken me to Seattle before. They knew I was in town for a Friday night. My credit card company (tied in to the airline, remember) knows what I like to do and the kinds of foods I like to eat (sushi restaurants are a regular). They know I have young children (all they need to do is analyze my bill to see the continually recurring charges at the nearby “Lego” and “Justice” stores that generally hit my credit card on Saturdays) and that I’m generally up for a night on the town on the weekends (note late night dinner and live music charges on Friday and Saturday nights). My mobile operator clearly knew where I was physically down to a few feet for each and every moment of my night on the town. They all knew that I had downloaded their mobile apps.

If they were smart, they would have been pulling what they knew about me together, looking at everything they knew about me at the moment and help turn my one night visit into a GREAT and unforgettable experience. They could have been at my side the entire time – steering me in real time to great restaurants, great music venues, nearby merchants where I could buy souvenirs or detours (I didn’t’ realize the Space Needle was open after I had dinner, but would have loved to have gone – or how about a night tour of the city in a car for hire).

They all blew it. My airline, hotel, credit card company and mobile operator completely missed out on the opportunity to make my visit to Seattle GREAT and remind me why I need to remain loyal to them.  They had all the information about me that they needed and with my mobile device in hand, the ability to interact with me one-to-one in real-time. They could have easily been directing me to restaurants, shops and venues that were within their “circle of trust” and encouraging me to spend, shop, and enjoy myself.  I was completely up for it!

The mobile, social and big data technology needed by my travel partners to truly transform their relationship with me and take the business we do together to a new level is readily available and something we at DMI have delivered on, they just haven’t taken advantage of it yet – and because of that – my night in Seattle was good, but not nearly as great as it could have been.

So, if you’re an airline, a credit card company, a hotel chain or a mobile operator and thinking about ways to simply attract new customers or do more business with the customers you already have – we should talk. I have some stories to tell and some ideas for you.

–  Scott Deutschman, Executive VP of DMI’s corporate development and strategic growth initiatives

Tags: DMI

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