Voice of the Customer: What happens when Travel is cancelled?

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The destination resort of Tignes is a famous high-altitude ski resort in the French Alps, which also attracts visitors in the summer with biking, hiking, and golf.  While the population is officially 2,181 people, the number of visitors swell the population in both winter and summer.

 

Carole Verilhac, the owner of Carole Conciergerie, operates her business in Tignes and facilitates the renting apartments and the overall guest experience, interfacing between Landlords and Renters.  Her business is a typical micro-business where she “does a lot of everything,” and her success relies on her reputation and her ability to build trust with her clients. 

 

Carole does not get involved in the booking side of the business per se but is more focused on the arrival, stay, and departure experience.  This focus means she first had to build trust with the Landlords, many of whom are local, but some are “absentee.”  Landlords don’t turn over the keys to their rental properties to just anyone.

 

With the government lockdown, Carole’s business effectively closed overnight.  There was a frantic period after the announcement of the lockdown to ensure that guests left the apartments, and everything was controlled and completed before everything effectively stopped.  As of today, there are no rentals, and business is at a standstill.

 

Before the crisis, Carole’s main marketing was word-of-mouth and her reputation.  In a small community like Tignes, being seen and engaging face-to-face with landlords and potential clients was critical to establishing the business.

 

Carole’s primary methods of communication with landlords and guests are voice, email, texting, and WhatsApp.  She does not have a Facebook page nor a website, but that is something she will be looking at in the coming months because of the need to be front of mind and visible – particularly on Social Media.

 

As she thinks about the future, she will need to expand her digital presence, including reputation management, and the solicitation of positive feedback on Google and Facebook.  Also, Carole will research platforms that can integrate a variety of services (messaging, appointments, etc.) to improve the speed and accuracy of communication.


Watch the video here (French Language)

 

There is also the opportunity for Carole to help her clients by building her social media presence and co-promoting the rental properties with her as “the service component.” The positioning would be around the guest experience and not just focusing on the “accommodation” itself.   This approach could help to differentiate herself and her clients in the fight for visitors who may be slow to return to the mountains.

 

Ultimately, Carole is still a believer that technology can only assist and not replace the face-to-face experience. She will continue to “shake hands” (when it’s safe to do so!) with clients and visitors alike.

 


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