Thursday, January 21, 2016

Major Takeaways, Zi Li

    The whole journey was unbelievable and unforgettable. I have never traveled with a group before, especially study abroad with a group of people who all shared the similar career interests and goals together. It is fascinating to evaluate customer experiences when you are actually on a tour as a tourist. It really opened my eyes to see the whole tour differently. Yes we were having so much fun that we experienced all kinds of attractions, restaurants and hotels, but at the same time our minds were always set on a “detective” mode because we have to not only enjoy it but evaluate it. “Was the facility well-maintained?” “Was the bathroom clean?” “Were the staff friendly and helpful?” Those questions were always asked when we visit a new place. I believe next time when I go to travel, those questions will keep popping up in my head since this course teach me to use a different perspective to think deeper.
    Before taking this class, I have very limited knowledge about methods and techniques to measure customer experience. Now I am familiar to use participant observation (mystery shopping), social media monitoring, peak experience interviews and importance performance analysis (APA) to evaluate customer experience. I found it is important to compare and contrast different methods to get the most accurate result.
    Also, I originally from China. This was the first time I traveled outside of China using a travel agency. I noticed there are still a small portion of Asian tourists in Costa Rica compared to American, Canadian and European tourists. In Asian culture we prefer not to explode ourselves under the sun because we do not like to be tan that much in general, and we drink hot water constantly. I would like to work in an international travel company. In a management standpoint, in order to attract more Asian tourists, travel company need to take culture factor into consideration when making itinerary. Maybe trying to put the indoor events at noon when the temperature is the highest and when the sun is the strongest, and outdoor activities can be taking place at the late afternoon. A hotel room with a water boiler would be nice as well. 
    This class really taught me how to think in a managerial way when travelling especially with a group. Thank you Stuart, Sharon, Zender and all my classmates, we made a good team. Pura Vida!

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