I probably should have made a post last week to explain my absence, but the reason I haven’t blogged for a while is because my wife, daughter and I spent last week in Kissimmee, Florida. We spent 3 full days at Disney parks and had a wonderful time. What does this have to do with marketing? Well, during the trip two different organizations made me do things that confused me. But the very different ways they explained why they were inconveniencing me showed that one knows how to treat customers (how customers are treated = one very powerful part of marketing) and the other doesn’t.
The first curious thing was going through security after we landed at Orlando. Yes, after we landed. After we had been through security prior to getting on the flight, after flying all the way to Florida without blowing anything up, and after getting off the plane and entering Orlando International Airport.
And it was the full-on security, too: shoes off, laptops out, etc. And then we had to claim our checked luggage from the carousel, and put them through security! It took us 2 hours to go from touch down to curbside. Why? What damage could we do after having been on the flight? I asked, and was (gruffly) given a very terse response – something about “contraband.”
I really tried to figure it out – perhaps they are checking for something in Orlando that other airports don’t, like Australia screens for food items. But what kind of contraband could they be looking for? Drugs? X-ray wouldn’t catch those. Weapons? Would have been caught at departure.
Doubtless there is an excellent reason for why they do this, but a simple sign explaining it, or a scripted response to travelers’ questions, could have removed the bad taste that all those fresh arrivals to the “happiest place on earth” get in their first 120 minutes.
The other experience was the fingerprint scan when you enter a Disney property. (Hold the hue and cry about Big Brother – that’s for another day.) I already have a ticket with my name printed on it, why do they need to check who I am? Well, they don’t want one person going in for the morning and then handing the ticket off to another for the afternoon, see? OK, so, isn’t the easy solution to that problem to make them show ID and make sure it matches the name on the ticket? But then, the person has to search out their ID, if they even remembered to bring it. And what if there is some sort of language issue, or conflicting spellings or something? It turns out that the finger scan method is actually Disney using technology to make visitors’ lives easier. Once that was explained to me my suspicions turned to gratitude. It will be a long time before I’m grateful to Orlando International Airport.