The question of brand loyalty is an interesting and contentious subject. For a start, should you remain loyal or not to any particular brand?
I suppose the first thing to ask yourself is why you stay loyal. Here are some suggestions you may relate to:
- I stay loyal because we actually like the offering
- I stay loyal because there’s a benefit to me in doing so
- I stay loyal because it’s easier than looking elsewhere (i.e.I’m idle!)
I like the offering
Out of all the reasons above, I would suspect this at first glance is the most reasonable and legitimate excuse for not looking elsewhere. I mean, this is true be it holiday provider, travel agent, airline, restaurant, destination, coffee brand or wash powder.
I used to use this excuse, but the problem with being brand loyal is that you may never experience something better.
At the most basic level, people stay true to what they know. My father for a long time said there was nothing abroad that would make him give up his holidays in the UK. Skegness was, for a long time, our only holiday destination. Like him, I followed suit and when I was much younger, argued the pro’s of ‘Brand UK’ to many of my friends and colleagues travelling to the French and Italian rivieras, while being secretly envious of my wife’s Uncle who had taken his children all over the world and to see sights like Niagra Falls, while I saw the beach at Ingoldmells. (For those overseas, google Skegness and Ingoldmells to see where I’m coming from).
The famous clock tower at Skegness
This sounds terribly ungrateful, and I’m not as I know now exactly why this pattern occurred, and why I replicated it for many years. Money. Or more importantly the lack of it. My parents had holidayed further afield before I arrived, but had to cut back once they had two children to fund, and in the same fashion we were restricted by our mortgage and initially low income to our local holiday destinations once our own children had arrived. But as package holidays became cheaper and UK holidays became more expensive, the opportunity arrived to taste life abroad, and once there, we realised how narrow our experience of the world was, and wanted more. Both sets of parents also caught the bug, and found holidays in the warm climes much more to their liking.
Interestingly, this year I have a friend who has repeatedly travelled abroad for work, but never felt the urge to take his family overseas, preferring Skegness as his holiday destination of choice. He suddenly had the opportunity to spend this Christmas in the Canaries, and took his family overseas for what I believe to be the first time. I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t be their last!
I have another friend who chooses to cruise multiple times a year not just with the same company, but the same ship (a quite small one by comparison) where he is now on first name terms with most of the crew. They are totally satisfied with this and I don’t criticize them at all for their choice, as I can empathise with their reasoning (See Le Grandeur below). I’m just glad we didn’t stick with our first and only company, otherwise we would have never had some of the wonderful experiences since then.
I have a similar dilemma – We are committed to a time share with a popular hotel chain and we have had very good experiences while on holiday with them, so much so that we have considered their locations when looking beyond our timeshare dates. The problem is, we spent a fantastic time at one of their resorts (See our mexico report Mexico : Riviera Maya ) and now our problem is – do we stay loyal to that resort and the friends we made there, or do we use our remaining time with them to try out even more of their Caribbean gems?
White sandy beach at the Gran Bahia Principe Riviera Maya
Of course even we have exceptions to the rule – if I’m visiting South Malaysia for instance, I wouldn’t dream of staying any where else than Le Grandeur Palm Resort next to Senai airport (although I know at least one good friend who might want me to stay at the Grand Paragon Johor down in the city) because I just can’t imagine that any other hotel could offer the same personal experience from truly dedicated staff (and truly beautiful people) that Sue and I have become accustomed to while staying at the Palm resort. Many of them are now what I consider to be personal friends and my facebook account is testament to that!
Some of my good friends at the Le Grandeur
I would say the moral of the story is while it’s ok to be satisified with your lot, don’t be blinkered into believing there is nothing else out there for you. The world is huge, I would recommend that (even if just occasionally) you spread your wings a little!
What’s your thoughts on this? Let us know.
To be continued…