If you want to travel by train in western Canada but you want a memorable experience instead of a mere rolling seat, you’ll probably take the award-winning Rocky Mountaineer tourist train between Vancouver, Whistler, Banff, and Calgary.
After a rough startup 21 years ago, the company has grown to become the “busiest privately owned passenger rail service in North America, having transported over one million passengers since 1990.”
4 Marketing and Client Service Ideas from the Rocky Mountaineer
- “We’re in the tourism business, not the transportation business.” It wasn’t about the trains — it was about the customer experience.
- Putting customers into hotels at the halfway point (in the early years) let passengers see the mountain scenery during the day, compared to competitors who ran through the mountains at night using sleeping cars. Coupled with serving meals on trays at passengers’ seats, the Rocky Mountaineer could run a high-price, low-cost coach-seating train, instead of a less-efficient consist with sleeping cars and dining cars.
- “The trains provided the customer volume, but the add-ons drove profits.” Your profits may not come from where you first expect.
- For service crew members, it’s a job — but for passengers, it’s the “trip of a lifetime.”
Using This on My Volunteer Train Trips
I thought about that fourth point on a Dover Harbor charter train trip from New York to Montreal over Columbus Day.
As an experienced Dover Harbor crew member, this was my ninth volunteer trip. Yet for my 48 passengers (who’d paid thousands of dollars apiece for a rail-and-cruise package), this was indeed a “trip of a lifetime.”
To that end, I did my best to make it the best experience possible — whether it was memorizing complex drink orders (“three waters, one Chardonnay, one Sam Adams, and two coffees black, coming right up”), describing their freshly-plated lunch in colorful detail (“fresh penne pasta with a sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper vodka cream sauce, a chilled salad with a light vinaigrette marinade, and double-chocolate pound cake with an orange-coffee liqueur glaze”), or surreptitiously clearing their candy wrappers without interrupting their card game.
Using This at Your Marketing Agency
I try to apply a similar mindset in working with my marketing agency clients — as a marketing agency account manager and project manager, my job is to handle their marketing problems and make their job easier. After all, not everyone’s excited to spend all day doing marketing! What do you do to make your agency’s marketing services special?