Comment: Never lose the wow factor

Comment: Never lose the wow factor

Last weekend I flew to Amsterdam to moderate the Clia River Cruise Conference. On arrival at Schiphol airport, my suitcase had been badly smashed in transit.

Later at a reception onboard Tauck’s Grace, where I was staying, I briefly mentioned the incident and how relieved I was that my knickers hadn’t ended up all over the baggage carousel!

All joking aside, I was genuinely worried whether my battered case would make it home and I had no time, given the packed schedule, to sort it out.

The Tauck team rushed to my aid and solved my immediate problem by promising to deliver some tape to my cabin to patch it up for the return journey. And 24 hours later, my emotions escalated from relieved to overwhelmed when I opened my cabin to find a new suitcase waiting for me.

It might not have been Tauck’s problem, but the team went above and beyond to surprise and delight me. Without question, it was the best customer service I’ve experienced – and they stressed they would have done the same for any guest.

It’s this ‘above and beyond’ ethos that underpins the new Hotel Satisfaction Promise from Thomas Cook which chief executive Peter Fankhauser discusses in our exclusive interview this week.

And retaining that ethos will surely be one of the toughest jobs facing Tui as it develops its Virtual Travel Agents. Technological advances may be able to generate virtual interactions with “more personalisation and personality”, but will they ever be able to over-deliver in a way that truly wows the customer?

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