Overcoming Certainty Gaps in Tourism

Overcoming Certainty Gaps in Tourism

Travel is a wonderful experience. Assuming everything goes right.

Few experiences deliver a balanced feeling of euphoria and dread like travel. One is literally removed from their comfort zone and placed in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by new people, odd words and different customs.

For all the advancements in travel over the last century, that feeling (and thrill) of the unknown is a constant.

And yet, most tourism destinations and travel promoters want to help the consumer plan their trip.

I Don’t Need a Plan, I Need Confidence

We want to be the one-stop shop for planning your trip.

Whether destination marketing organization or travel-focused start-up, many of our peers are trying to solve the planning problem.

But planning a trip is not the problem.

The consumer is perfectly comfortable visiting anywhere between 20 to 40 sites and sources to plan their trip.

Would they like fewer clicks?


But they are also searching for reassurance on price and multiple site checks deliver that knowledge.

Furthermore, unless one is taking a pre-packaged tour, few tourists are looking for a definitive plan for every hour of their vacation. And even those on pre-packaged tours are expecting ‘flex time’…an opportunity to explore without a plan.

[Tweet “The tourist does not need help planning; the tourist needs help overcoming certainty gaps.”]

Convince Me

During our execution of multiple service design projects for clients, a trend consistently develops: the biggest barrier to the act of travel is confidence.

Once you begin asking the right questions, the consumer will openly explain why an online trip planner holds little value, but walking directions between their hotel and the train station are critically important.

Convince me that I can walk from the hotel to the train station.

Convince me that I will be able to find something for my kids to eat in Tokyo.

Convince me I won’t get jet lag.

Convince me I can afford a trip to California.

Travel is composed of thousands of questions, challenges and concerns. Your job is to convince the traveler they can overcome them.

Here is the trouble with uncertainty…when you leave a certainty gap open in the traveler’s mind, the traveler gets confused. When travelers get confused, they get frustrated. When they get frustrated, they have a negative experience. When they have a negative experience that erodes your brand value.

Uncertainty will cause the traveler to pick another destination.

Uncertainty will destroy your brand.

Uncertainty is your enemy.

You don’t need to help anyone plan their entire trip; you need to convince them to overcome a certainty gap that moves them one step closer to the act of travel.

And who should identify these gaps within the travel experience?

The Future DMO.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.