My most significant find on this fact-finding mission is that there is a pizza place directly across the street from our new location at 685 Third Avenue. This is the important news I reported back to my colleagues and it was met with great cheer.
That’s because there are other pizza places near where we currently work but I’d say they’re all at least two blocks away. This means I’ve probably had pizza only about 10 times over the past 13 years because it simply wasn’t convenient for me to run two blocks to get a slice. Yes, I just said that.
My behavior, albeit lazy, isn’t unusual. Just recently, the department store Kohl’s inked a deal with Amazon to accept returns from the online retailer at its stores. Kohl’s will even package the items up for you and send them back to Amazon. (Yes, please.) Kohl’s’ CEO, Michelle Gass, sees this as a way to get potential shoppers in to her stores, which, like most brick-and-mortar outlets, is seeing a decline in foot traffic. I think she’s right. Any service that saves us time — our greatest asset — is likely to be a winner and we’ll no doubt be so relieved by the opportunity that we’ll purchase some “necessity” from Kohl’s on the way out that we didn’t know we needed, like a picture frame or a tent for the backyard.
Kohl’s is not just merging the online and offline experience. CEO Gass, an innovator who hails from Starbucks, is renting out extra space in Kohl’s to Planet Fitness to draw foot traffic from exercise buffs, another non-traditional market.
The message from all of this for luxury travel advisors is simple: Do as much as you can to save the precious time of your clients and they’ll be eternally grateful. Merge the convenience of online shopping with the humanity of the offline experience and you’ll strike gold. Find partners not aligned with travel who will bring you new customers. Then make it as convenient as possible for them to find you so these potential new customers will understand the wonders of the high level of service you provide. People want to walk across the street for a slice of pizza, not two blocks. That’s just too far and you have to think too much about it.
As for Luxury Travel Advisor’s new offices; please come visit. They’re beautiful and welcoming and on the ground floor there’s a Maison Kayser bakery for cappuccino and croissants where we can sit and chat about all things luxury travel.
See you soon!