If you’re in the travel business be it as a hospitality provider, an attraction owner, a booking site manager, a rental car agency or any other field connected to travel, you must know by now what travelers really want. You might be right but you might also be surprised.
The Little Things Count
How many people would say that having free wifi is a big element in a traveler choosing an accommodation? For many it’s as important as cleanliness. Access to one’s computer or merely to free casino games, for a little quick entertainment, is no less important than comfort and cleanliness which are obviously extremely important!
Cleanliness is so obviously important that we really don’t need to talk about it. The feedback section of sites is a good source for people who found accommodations unclean. It’s quite remarkable how many people write to say that they found cockroaches or dust bunnies in their room.
There is, however, one area of cleanliness that is often overlooked: restaurant and even more so, gas station ladies restrooms. If the ladies bathroom in a restaurant is not clean, she will never agree to go back there again. If the bathroom belongs to a chain, it will sour her on the entire chain.
Gas stations especially are lazy with regard to their bathrooms. But if you have a gas station on a highway, not necessarily a major highway, women will tell each other that the bathroom in gas station x was spotlessly clean. Where do you think those women will want to go to get gas?
Here are a few under the radar things that travelers really want.
A Great Website
Anyone who is researching aspects of their next vacation will open a multitude of sites. Any site that does not immediately win them over visually and through ease of use will get closed quickly.
A great website has perfect color contrast between the letters and the background. It’s amazing how many sites don’t have perfect color contrast, and are simply not inviting to keep looking at.
A great website will also have the right sized font and the most readable font. Fancy looking fonts are terrible in this market. They belong, perhaps, in the calligraphy market and nowhere else.
Many people researching a trip will have developed middle age reading problems. A font that is too small for them to read will result in lost business in the demographic that generally spends the most money on travel.
Many sites have lines of text that are too long. A great site has short lines with colorful pictures or other items to fill out the page.
Finally, a great website will be able to answer almost any question the traveler might have quickly and easily. The customer service desk must be manned 24/7/365 if at all possible because people will enter your site from anywhere in the world at any time of the day. Computerized chat service is a terrible alternative to speaking with a real person so try to have a real person on hand at all times.
If your site is a professional booking suite or the hotel or attraction itself, you have to have a few things that make booking smooth for travelers. First, you must have a map! So many places don’t have a simple map. Of course, a traveler can always find a map but they often don’t want to take an extra step so have a good map on the site.
The home page of any tourist attraction that people have to pay for should have links to every bit of information they could possibly want to know. This is much better than an FAQ section. In an FAQ section, you have to scroll to find the question and the answers are too often incomplete. With links to separate sections on every aspect of the attraction, people see the link and go to it directly.
People want to know immediately the hours the attraction is open, what’s nearby, and the price. These are obvious. People also want to know how the attraction works: do we have to wait in line, do we have to bring a voucher, how long will the presentation take, and many other questions.
Hotels and Motels
Hotels are the stuffy one-percenter accommodations whereas motels are for the average person. The single most important thing a motel or hotel room can have is a safe. We assume that the room is clean. When we leave the room we want to be totally confident that the valuable things we leave behind are safe.
A safe is more important than all the other items that are also extremely important. If a motel has a pool, the site should list the pool hours clearly. This helps travelers organize their day. An outdoor pool should be covered or heated during the cold months. The site should state outright if towels are provided at poolside.
A motel should have a playground. The kids play all the time. After they’ve been in the pool for a while, they still want to play. If the motel doesn’t have a playground, the site should indicate on a map where the closest playgrounds are.
Finally, a motel should have a small refrigerator in the room. The refrigerator should be able to keep food cold without freezing it! Families hate pre-stocked mini-bars because they are so expensive.
Any hotel or motel that serves breakfast has to have menu items that are good for diabetics, vegetarians, vegans, and kids. A huge percentage of people are diabetic; and a growing number of people are choosing to eat no animal products or far less than they ate before.
Serving the Public
Helping travelers get the information they need and providing the best goods and services you can will inevitably result in happy customers who will tell their friends and family about you.