When we go on trips, we rarely think about the systems that go into making that trip a success: the online resources we read, the booking experience, the clean room when we arrive, a quick and easy check-out. But for an operator and creator of travel experiences – whether it’s lodging, food, or activities – ensuring that there’s a system in place is the difference between a poor experience and a delightful one that has guests coming back (or even just booking in the first place!).
In this article, you’ll learn how you can use a Service Blueprint (like the one pictured below) to map out the people, process, and technology to create a fantastic travel experience for your guests.
Let’s say we have a traveler – Lauren – who’s looking to take an adventure in West Coast America. A Service Blueprint maps out the Front Stage experience of the guest (the points along Lauren’s journey) and the Back Stage steps the Service Provider (whether direct personal contact or with support IT systems) to deliver on the Front Stage experiences.
The goal of the diagram and the process is to understand the current services offered and to find ways to improve it for future guests.
- Explore: Lauren sees what’s out there: talks to friends who have done roadtrips up Highway 1, reads articles, books, and looks at Instagram.
- Wants: Lauren now knows what she wants and starts looking for places to stay on Google, TripAdvisor, and Yelp around things that she wants to do: rafting the Rogue River, hiking Crater Lake, visiting the Redwoods, and seeing a theatre performance in Ashland.
- Fit: She is looking for fit within her search criteria. She has settled on Jacksonville and now is looking at the type of hosts, price, and availability that matches her needs. She logs into each website to find this out or uses a platform like Airbnb to compare.
- Arrive: Using the street address, arrival instructions, and Google Maps, she shows up and calls Jonathan, her host when she gets there. He shows the room and helps her get settled.
- Experience: Lauren goes on the planned (and unplanned) adventures that she wanted to do. She asks Jonathan for his recommendations on places to eat and he gives her some options. She goes on the rafting trip and meets a couple from Canada.
- Depart: She packs and tidies the place up. Plans the next leg of her journey from a coffee shop. Lauren texts Jonathan that she’s heading out and thanks him for the stay.
- Recap: Lauren shares some photos of her experience on Instagram, talks to other travels and calls home about the rafting trip. She reviews the place, “Great stay. Make sure to look for the big oak tree b/c I missed the turn off.”
- Return: Lauren follows the place on social media and checks in periodically on what’s going on the in Rogue Valley. Four years later, with her husband, Lauren comes back to the same place and explores the newly built winery down the road.
- Demand Generation: The region of Rogue Valley putting out travel brochures and online articles. Department of Commerce helping to bring in and promote tourism, food, and lodging options.
- Availability: The reservation system (whether guest-facing or on a paper calendar + phone) that allows future guests to book a spot to stay in. And before that, the construction and design of the lodging facility.
- Navigation: Wayfinding and information on how to get to the place and the room.
- Turn Room: Cleaning the room and providing bedding, soap, etc. for a pleasant at-home stay.
- Hospitality: Designing for good interactions between host and guest. Combination of services offered (like breakfast), safe social space, and training (especially service recovery – aka what to do when things go wrong).
- Follow-up: Getting feedback on the guest’s stay for future improvement. Referral and repeat customer incentives.
- Nurture: Staying in-touch with relevant content – particularly email – to keep Lauren engaged with her experience. Responsibility also on the region to continue improving and creating authentic, unique experiences for repeat guests.