If you press two, we’ll order pizza.

There’s nothing like a travel brand making a negative change and blaming us for it. Yes, this is going to be one of those ranting posts – but hopefully it will change some perception. Surveys can be anything from a valuable tool to a useless waste of funds (they’re not cheap to conduct by the way) and it’s high time airlines and hotels stopped citing them as the reason for taking away the things we love. Here’s why travel brand surveys are FLAWED…

Who Actually Fills Them Out?

Now – if you’re asking the same question, you’re part of the problem (you should try and take the time), but they’re still flawed nonetheless. In general, people don’t enjoy surveys, and those who travel most don’t have the time or energy to fill them out. There’s also a jaded curve amongst frequent travelers- where they don’t bother, because they believe their voice isn’t heard. On the other hand, one time travelers who demands to speak to the CEO over a 15 minute delay or hotel air conditioning temperature think they’re moving earth by filling out a survey. No offense, one time travelers.

The “Fill It Out” Lure Really Says A Lot About The End Goal…

How reflective of a true customer base is a given survey? If you want a strong 90% of customers “say” result: ask a bunch of deep house music fans outside of a 2AM gig how they feel about early mornings. OR better yet, offer $1 for a 60 minute survey and see what kind of people fill it out. Do you think that survey is reflective of your best customers? I think it’s fair to say that this 1% of customers who have the time to spend 60 minutes for a dollar are not representative of the strong loyalty filled brand many travel companies are trying to create. I could be wrong….

Let’s Not Even Start With How Flawed The Questions Are…

Press yes if you’d like to save $50 on your airline tickets. Of course, they don’t bother to say- oh by the way, thanks to these new survey results, you’ll actually now pay $50 to check a bag, and $25 for a seat that used to be free. I am convinced that 99% of passengers/guests DO book based on price, and therefore airlines and hotels must compete on price first, but these surveys are a backhanded way of justifying taking things away, without people fully understanding the question. But they said yes to $50 off, so we must be right… right?

Or That We Can’t Discern The Actual End Goal, While Taking The Survey…

What’s do you prefer with your breakfast: eggs, bacon or the fruit plate? AND OFF GOES THE SALT AND PEPPER SHAKER. Wait what? My biggest frustration with surveys is that they are used to justify non linear moves. Sure, if customers say they don’t care about what kind of fabric the bathroom towels are, go for cheaper towels. It doesn’t mean you can stop washing them. The liberties taken with survey results are staggering, manipulative. Couple the divisive motives with the unsuspecting customers who think their voice is actually going to improve things and you create a scary ecosystem.

It’s So Passive Aggressive To Take Things From Us… And Blame Us For It. Why Can’t Surveys Be Positive?

Whether you agree with any of the points made above- there’s something about ownership. If you want to squeeze an extra $50 out of us for checked bags, or $25/day for hotel wifi- man up. Tell us “we’re doing this because others are doing it, and we have to compete financially”. We won’t like it but we get it- it’s transparent. Telling us we can no longer visit the lounge for free, even though we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on your airline or hotel, because someone once said they “don’t find it a primary decision maker in booking” is just a slap in the face.

My Thoughts: Use Surveys For Good Things. Short Things…

Would you be more excited to get a chocolate cake or a lemon tart? Now we’re talking. One question, ideally delivered in a short wave communication form- like Twitter, Facebook, in the travel brand’s app or via text. I like chocolate cake and I like lemon tart. If it turns out 90% of people (and maybe it really is 90% since it’s just one question delivered right to us) like lemon tart- I’m cool with that. 90 questions about whether sugar is a “deciding factor” in my decision to eat dessert however, I’m not cool with that.