Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Reflections, Cecily Martin

Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience. The Customer Experience Management in Hospitality and Events course perfectly integrated learning and experience. This course not only taught us how to monitor and evaluate a variety of customer experiences by utilizing a multi-method approach, but also provided us with the opportunity to research and study Costa Rican culture and business. I have learned a tremendous amount from this course, but I wanted to highlight the top three most valuable lessons.

One important lesson we learned was how each unique experience with a destination, group tour, event, attraction, hotel and restaurant can impact the overall customer experience. Understanding and measuring the emotional side of a service experience is crucial to understanding customer perceptions, satisfaction and loyalty. Customer journey mapping is an effective tool that can be used to visualize and understand the customer’s emotional experience from beginning to end and highlights the process of engagement through various touchpoints. Since tourism is an experience industry, it is imperative to effectively deliver experiences to customers, by paying close attention to these touchpoints.

Another key lesson learned was implementing various customer relationship management tools, service marketing frameworks and participant observation and social media monitoring methodologies to effectively analyze the customer experience. The approach we took was very customer centric and results driven. We integrated the qualitative research and quantitative data from the mystery shop evaluations, social media monitoring, peak experience interviews and importance performance analysis to derive our results. 

Additionally, we learned the importance of responsible planning and management and how they contribute to the overall customer experience. Given that Costa Rica is known as a global leader in sustainable tourism, attaining sustainable growth through corporate social responsibility is fundamental for the continued responsible management and sustainable development of tourism in Costa Rica.

I really enjoyed working alongside my classmates and found it very satisfying to be part of such an effective and collaborative team. Having had the chance to participate in this unique course was a once in a lifetime opportunity, which enabled me to enhance my classroom learning, obtain real world experience and acquire valuable career insight.


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