Hotel Nassau in Breda lobby

Designing for the frequent traveler journey

I have been both on the receiving and giving end of carefully crafted journeys. As a professional, I optimise the experience of consumers. As a consumers, I’m on the receiving end of carefully (?) crafted journeys. There have been plenty of screw-ups, as well as quote some delights (see my favorites). So, but how do you design for the frequent traveler journey?

Frequent travelers

As pointed out in Jean Philip de Tender’s post on the travelers’ tribe, frequent travelers are a peculiar kind. We have our own quirks, habits, routines and hacks. Because we travel so much, we have developed our habits to cope with airports, crammed flights and rules and regulations of hotels and airlines.

Things that weren’t designed with the frequent traveler in mind

Just a few examples:

  • Up until recently, my favorite airline would send me a Welcome home email every time I arrived home from a trip. More than 50 times every year.
  • It takes me on average 3m17 seconds to do a booking with my favorite airline. No way to book multiple flights at the same time.
  • Most travel website I book at, won’t remember my details.
  • I have booked over 600 times with Booking.com, but I still have to fill out my contact details every time.
  • I can’t count the number of times
  • Hotel loyalty programs have issues posting stays. At some point, 7 out of my last 9 stays were missing with IHG.
  • When considering to move from one loyalty program to another, you’ll have to start from the bottom up. Often, it is quite the hassle to give up your platinum benefits at IHG/Hilton to start all over from Marriott. Smoother transition would be comfortable.
  • The loyalty card number of Thalys has 17 numbers of which I have to fill out 7 or 9, depending on the website. Impossible to remember.
  • I never once had a GM/manager at an airline/hotel group call me because I was a loyal member and/or to hear my tips or experiences. Only in case of massive screw-ups.

Designing for the frequent traveler journey

I guess one of the key things is just really, truly, thoroughly involving frequent travelers. Call them, talk to them, discuss needs and wants. Understand them. And use them to improve products and services. They know them better and spend more time with them than you do.

What are your thoughts?

Polle
Hi, my name is Polle de Maagt. Omakases is my regularly updated notebook about travel - from my weekly business travels to my hikes and runs and from travel annoyances to ways to hack them. Read more

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