After a series of acquisitions, Reykjavik Excursions had to balance a complex collective of brands along with a broad tour and activity portfolio. Kunde & Co was tasked with identifying the core customers and their buying journey alongside defining an optimal brand system for differentiation in a highly competitive market.
Gearing up for growth
Reykjavik Excursions (Kynnisferðir) is a fully licensed tour operator and travel agency that offers travelers the opportunity to explore everything from Iceland’s most “Instagrammable” sites to the secluded wilderness of the highlands. The company also operates the main bus service between the capital city Reykjavik and the international airport.
Since the early 2000s, tourism in Iceland has grown exponentially. From 2000 to 2014, the number of foreign tourists has more than tripled, peaking in 2018 with 2.3 million overnight visitors1. Today, despite a short-term dip in tourism due to COVID-19, tourism remains one of the foundational pillars of the Icelandic economy, attracting the adventure-seekers and bucket-list travelers eager to make the journey.
The challenge was identifying and defining the purchasing criteria of the merged company’s core customers in an industry where classic parameters such as brand awareness and recognition played a minimal role in travelers’ evaluation and purchase. To understand what would motivate the customer to book a tour operator on Iceland and thereby enable future growth, we sought to establish Icelandic travelers pre-and-post journey behavior.
Following the well-proven Kunde & Co strategic methodology, a two-step approach was pursued. In Phase 1, extensive qualitative interviews were conducted with employees from the different brands to gain an understanding of their values, visions and concerns post-merger. Despite differences, the employees were united in their ardent love of Icelandic exploration and travel. This provided a clear understanding of the respective value the different brands brought to the merger, which reinforced the decision-making on an optimal brand system to future-proof and grow the company.
Phase 2 consisted of an external analysis, focusing on understanding the customer journey of Icelandic tourists. The insights from Phase 1 fueled the development of an online questionnaire, the reasons for travelling to Iceland to the travelers’ behavior pre, during, and post travel behavior. This extensive data from six target markets provided invaluable insights to map out the customer journey and critical marketing touchpoints.
The analysis indicated two distinct target audiences; those who were return visitors and first-time visitors in Iceland. Both groups had distinct demands for what constituted a successful trip - this became the focal point for the final segmentation and customer journey map. These insights provided the board with a roadmap to help manage the merger, both internally and externally, whilst instilling a clear core customer focus to guide marketing efforts and optimize sales.
- Quantitative surveys
- Internal workshops
- Customer segmentation
- Customer journey mapping
- Product development
- Brand system recommendation