Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law, “if anything can go wrong, it will”  is a worldview held by many.  Others may prefer to view the world through a cautious but slightly more positive “measure twice, cut once” lens.  Either way, stuff happens. 

So when something happens and the railroad is unable to deliver as promised, how do you respond to a disappointed guest?

Refund their money.

Well sure, you can always give money back.  In some cases that may be the only option, but does a refund fully heal the slight?   The Guest got their money back.  What are they likely to say to their friends or post on social media about their disappointing experience?  “This lousy thing happened.  They didn’t deliver on their promise.  Yeah, at LEAST they gave me my money back.”  Refunding their money is the LEAST.  So how can the railroad do MORE?

How can the railroad leave the Guest feeling they got MORE?

Issue a Refund AND…

  1. an Offer Code for a discount on a future excursion – you have just incentivized them to return to the railroad and buy a ticket(s) for a future excursion
  • a Voucher or Coupon for a Free Ice Cream or Fountain Drink – sweet treats are always appreciated
  • a Free parking pass

Think creatively!  What do you have to offer that is relatively Low Cost to the railroad AND potentially High Value to the Guest?    How can you encourage the Guest to return and ride another day when everything goes right and you can deliver on the promise of a railroad experience to remember?

The Art of the Upsell

Do you want fries with that?

It’s the classic upsell offer.

Translation: would you like something EXTRA?

Remember when they used to ask “SuperSize???” at the McDonald’s drive-thru window? Another classic upsell.

Translation: would you like MORE?

From the consumer, or guest, side of the transaction, the offer of something More or Extra may be received in a number of ways, positive or negative.

Positive Negative
YES! love Fries NO! hate fries
YES, forgot to order Fries NO! cutting calories
YES, hungry NO! don’t want to spend any more $
YES, good deal

From the vendor side of the transaction, the Upsell offer may accomplish several things, mostly positive.

Positive

— Increase the sales value of the transaction

— Enhance the guest experience, increasing the perceived value to the guest

— Inventory management – presells provide valuable information on what items eg. meals, snacks, collectibles will be needed on hand.

Negative

— Some Guests may be annoyed by the upsell offer but the chances of that are small – as long as you don’t overdo it and hit them with multiple offers at once, adding unnecessary friction to the checkout process.

Crafted thoughtfully, Upsell Offers can enrich both sides of the equation by increasing Sales Revenue and adding value to the Guest Experience.

Santa Claus is comin’ to town


Trains are sold out, volunteers are scheduled, candy canes, cocoa, and cookies are stocked. Your team is ready to create some magic and make some Holiday wishes come true. You are READY! But what about your Guests, are they prepared? Do they know what to expect? Do they know what is expected of them?

Holidays can be a stressful time. So much to do, gifts to wrap, decorations to hang, cookies to bake. How can you help alleviate some of that stress? Eliminate surprises! Make sure your Guests know everything they need to know in order to have a great experience riding your train.

A pre-excursion email can be sent automatically to Guests one or more days in advance of their excursion. With a special event train, such as Santa, tickets may have been purchased well in advance, sometimes months in advance. Receiving a “Looking forward to your visit,” email a few days before the event can serve as a pleasant reminder. “Right! That’s THIS weekend!”

The message can also include valuable information on what Guests can expect.
Examples:
• What to wear…PJ’s!
• What to bring…Smiles!
• Any last minute travel directions, eg. road construction updates, detours
• How long is the ride?
• When to arrive…Early!
• Where to park…Santas’ helpers will direct you
• Check-in procedure…Nice? Here, Naughty? There
• Bathroom info…Depot? On the Train?

When your Guests are prepared and “know the drill” there will be less stress for everyone including your staff and volunteers. Happy Guests will be back!