Case study: Nextpedition- Mystery and ritual in business

travel case studyWe talk a lot of incorporating mystery and rituals in your business. It is one of the ways you become irresistible to a market.

Here is an example of a travel business using mystery and rituals to attract oodles of avid clients.

The name Nextpediton.

American Express has launched a travel service call Nextpedition.  On a Nextpedition vacation, we don’t get an itinerary. We get a succession of surprises.

AmEx doesn’t tell us where we’re going until the last minute. Only when you get there you get to know what you are going to visit. An envelope appears, pushed under the door of our hotel room, or a message issues from our smartphone.

Amex knows that the consumer that wants all the details about his or her trip does not exist anymore.

Why they do it this way?

It creates sense of anticipation. (“What will happen?”) And serendipity. (“What could happen?”) And adventure. (“This should be great!”) Most of all, it delivers a warm current of randomness. Our life is unpredictable. But not “Oh, my God, the sky is falling” unpredictable. No, this is carefully managed chaos. Just enough. Almost like a game.

This customization is important because we want our experience to play out as if directed by a gentle randomness.

The Nextpedition system makes a modest effort to profile us before building our vacations, so our Nextpedition is likely to fall somewhere in the envelope of things we like. But both AmEx and the traveler are taking a risk.

“We created the Travel Signs so that anyone, regardless of if they plan to travel in the near future, can help define what they want out of a travel experience” says Amex. They divide the prospects into groups:

  • Adrenalista – Outdoor adventurers that love to travel
  • Tasteblazer – Foodies always out to explore new places and flavors
  • Technologian – Travelers who explore the world with hi-tech toys
  • Trengineer – Style gurus who seek inspiration from their travels
  • Scenester – Underground influencers on the global music/fashion scene

The company targets people in their 20’s and 30’s.

To explore taking a NEXTPEDITION trip, the consumer must consult with a specially trained American Express NEXTPEDITION Specialist who will create a mystery itinerary based on the Travel Sign. NEXTPEDITION Specialists are experienced American Express Travel Counselors selected and trained to take information generated from the Travel Profiler and blend it with budget preferences, personal interests and past travel history to develop and customize an itinerary.

A specially programmed, on loan Smartphone called a Travel Console will arrive at the consumer’s home a few days before departure. The device communicates the traveler’s itinerary, Lonely Planet guidebook content, restaurant recommendations, and other helpful travel tools. The Travel Console also allows travelers to share the details of their experience on Facebook through a personalized travel log.

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