We’ve just concluded the second mini-vacation within a few weeks to visit relatives. The travel has much the same structure: Renting a car for a few days, we’ve travelled across the U.S./Canada border into northern states. In both trips, we’ve taken hotel rooms and spent a fair amount of money in department stores.
The differences: One of our visits has been on the west coast, to Seattle, and the other to a New Jersey community within commuting distance of Manhattan.
Observations: Border line ups crossing from Canada to the U.S. are much longer on the Blaine WA crossing than they are in Cornwall, Ontario, prices in the U.S. seem refreshingly low for Canadians used to relatively high taxes and retail prices, and I’ve observed distinctions (likes and dislikes) in various international brands from experiences shaped by one-off encounters. (I won’t name specific businesses here because the observations are intuitive, impressionistic and one-off in nature.)
Of course, northern U.S. locations have perhaps more in common with each other than they do with whether they are on the east or west coast. And not surprisingly there is some similarity in the experiences and people I’ve spent time with as, after all, we are travelling on family visits. Of course, as a consumer traveler, it is fun to be “rich”, when the Canadian dollar is worth more than the U.S. counterpart, but as a business person I enjoyed the old days much more, when our US business spun off high-value U.S. dollars which turned into real wealth when converted to Canadian funds.
I’ve also discovered the frustrating limitations of “relying” on GPS devices — my GPS wanted to take us on a route that is both difficult and inconvenient, and efforts to reset the machine with some human intervention only made the experience even more frustrating and sometimes amusing (like when the device instructed me to turn left, immediately, when we were several hundred feet above the air on a bridge — and the road to which we were to turn just happened to be at ground level.)
Of course, several influences affected how we chose where to stay, to eat and to shop, and each of these choices, somewhere behind the scenes, had a marketer’s intervention. We formed impressions and gathered memories that will shape future choices and decisions. How do you make your own choices, and how do your clients?