Get comfortable with the term “Transumer,” because you’ll be hearing it often.
Correspondent Charlene Rook uses it in her informative articles in Sparksheet to refer to the flow of goods and services by savvy hospitality and travel marketers that follow a traveler wherever he or she may be in the travel cycle.
In other words, when brands extend their services across travel categories to reach the traveler in airports, train stations and other kinds of spaces, that’s “Transumerism” in action.
Remember “Up in the Air,” the 2001 novel by Walter Kirn and later made into a movie with George Clooney?
Kirn coined the term to “Airworld” to describe, as Rook puts it, “the horrific journey through that ‘nation within a nation’ Airworld – the generic series of taxis, lounges, cubicles and anonymous rooms travellers cycle through,” and which can destroy even the best travel experience.
But brands today are extending themselves across categories to make the travel experience more integrated, and to promote a brand’s commitment to stellar traveler experiences.
Rook cites a Four Season Hotel staffer who met and greeted her at Tokyo’s confusing train station, shepherding her through mazes to the comfort of the Four Season Marunouchi.
Hotels now naturally extend their services to branded lobbies at airports, like W’ s “whatever/whenever service.”
The program greets arriving passengers on tiny Vieques Island (Puerto Rico) with treats including juices, snacks, hot towels….in essence bringing the hotel’s brand and service to the guests before they even become, officially, guests at the property.
In essence, the Transumer is at the center of a convergence of all kinds of travel services, a network of brands aimed at delivering the best they have to the mobile traveler.
So, as Rook notes, leaving the La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech in Morocco for the airport, is really not to leave the hotel at all.
The hotel has its own lounge in the airport where the guests can extend the experience of their stay,just as if they never left the property.
Transumer-sensitive brands know that they have to be as mobile as their customers.
They have to extend their services to travelers, wherever they may be in their travel experience.
Transumerism creates a seamless, boundary-less integration of all travel parts, from hotels and airports to train stations, retail, and car rentals.