On Backpackers, Travelers, and the Customer Journey

I am someone who loves travelling. On my most recent expedition to India, among the exotic sights, sounds and smells of the country, I noticed something about my fellow holidaymakers. ​

Most tourists can be broadly categorized into two groups; ‘the backpackers’ and ‘the travelers’.

The Backpackers

With unruly hair, worn clothes and often barefoot, these happy-go-lucky explorers are hard to miss. Their limited budget combined with their unrestricted timeframe makes their journeys unpredictable, moving from place to place on a whim as their heart desires.

The Travelers

If you spot someone with a map in their hand, hat on their head and streaks of sunscreen on their face, you are most likely encountering ‘the traveler’. The journey of a traveler is meticulously planned, with all research completed, hotels booked, activities scheduled and guides organized.

Although the backpackers and the travelers do the same things - sleep in numerous accommodations, visit tourist attractions, and eat local foods - their approaches and journeys are drastically different.

The Customer Journey

When it comes to your customers too, one-size absolutely does not fit all. Though customers will be doing similar things – paying bills, buying products, and seeking assistance – each customer journey, how they do those things, will be different.

With increasing channels of engagement including social media, mobile and the web, customers are becoming even more unpredictable.

There will be customers that always pay their bill by phone, will want their statements sent to them by post and will always turn to the same channels for help.

But there will also be the unpredictable customers, who are constantly connected, who jump from one channel to the next, and who are continuously benchmarking service and price against the competition.

Every organization needs to know and accommodate to all their customers; the backpackers and the travelers. Disappoint customers and you risk not only losing them to the competition, but more crucially, damaging your brand.