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What Air Travel Can Teach Marketers About Healthcare

Tips that can help you communicate more effectively with your patients.

Last week a few members of the Geonetric team traveled to Orlando for the Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC). The conference was engaging. The sessions were exciting. The speakers challenged my thinking. My travel home on the other hand, did none of those things.

The Midwest was experiencing some unusual weather, which included 9 tornadoes reported in Geonetric’s home state of Iowa. This put our travel plans into a tailspin, with dozens of delays, cancellations, and scary flights.

As I reflected on this experience, and all the interactions I had with our airline representatives both on the phone, on the web and in person, I realized that the things I expect as a healthcare consumer – the things healthcare marketers must do – are really no different than the things I expect as a traveler.

In both instances, when you’re potentially overwhelmed, scared and a bit weary from navigating a system, it helps if you can keep these points in mind in your communications:

  • Be efficient. Just like travelers expect continuity from buying tickets online to registering at the airport, patients want a seamless experience, from their initial research (or diagnosis) through their appointment bookings.
  • Be visible. Don’t hide information, especially anything that a patient can use to make important decisions. In our travels, whole flights were canceled because of problems with one leg of the flight. Push the information I want to me and make it accessible and easy for me to make an educated choice.
  • Be transparent. Show me what others are saying about your physicians, locations, and services. Consumers trust others’ reviews, even if they don’t know them. I am more likely to engage with a physician or organization if I have ratings and reviews available to me.

Although it wasn’t a great flight home, our airline made the experience the best they could. They shared information with us about the delays and even took time to explain why our local airport closed while O’Hare in Chicago remained open.

Our team made the best of it, taking selfies at various airports and gates, keeping our friends, family and colleagues up to date at home. And we know now more about wind shears then we did a month ago, so that’s good.

Picture of Geonetric team members at the airport

We even took a picture of a particularly helpful airplane helper, and tweeted her picture tagging the airline in it. And we got a pretty fast response for their social media team.

Which goes to illustrate one more important point: good or bad your consumers will share their experience. We were sad and scared at some points in our journey, but when someone went out of their way to help us, we let our networks know.

If you’d like help being more efficient, visible and transparent in your marketing and initiatives, or need help with that all important online reputation monitoring, contact us.

What Air Travel Can Teach Marketers About Healthcare