Earlier this week we started a three part series documenting what we look for when we visit a simulator business for our review and their inclusion in our Featured Venue program. In this, part two of the series, we turn our attention to location, venue and function.
Of course having a great simulator these days is a critical component for businesses as the quality of what is being provided to the market continues to improve. But one can have the best simulator in the world, but if the venue is hard to find or in a poor location people are going to notice.
So one of the easiest things we check before evening heading off to a review is knowing exactly where it is, and of course our trusty, all knowing, friend Google is what we use. As easy as it is to let Google know where your business exactly is on their very detailed maps you would be surprised at how often businesses over look this. Not all of course; our friends over at Delta 5 Simulators made sure this was preciously covered as part of their marketing program to ensure their customers knew where they were on Campo de Marte (SBMT) airport.
Of course as part of getting there a well signposted venue helps, in particular as we are generally driving to locations we are not familiar with; and once we are there what is the parking like? Is it secure and/or well lite? Is it a long walk to the venue and is one exposed to the elements during a long walk?
A lot of the location information we have pretty much gathered before we even get to the building itself. And we generally find if the location aspect has been done well the venue has been too. For example you will notice from our review of Ascent Aviation in Glasgow, it was easy to find, plenty of good parking and inside the venue had been done really well. The attention to the little details really added to the atmosphere of quality establishment.
At the venue we will look for whether the building caters for the less mobile, are toilets available on site and what is the waiting area like? Are customers able to get a coffee or tea? Is there a small shop to buy those little extras to remember the simulator experience by?
It shouldn’t be that surprising how much difference a well appointed, clean and interesting waiting area makes to the overall experience from a flight simulator visit.
The last area we look at is that of function. What we mean here is the more mechanical aspects of the simulator experience. For example, how easy was it to make a booking? Did you have a number of choices in how you made a booking; ie by phone, website, app? Are vouchers available to buy for others; how long are they valid for and are they well presented?
Although it is mixed somewhat with part three of our article series, we are very mindful of how the communication process and how well that went in organising our visits, as a business that deals with us well will do well for their customers. Are emails promptly replied to? Are suitable email addresses being used or is it a gmail account? Are the phones manned during normal business hours and outside of this is their a good “out-of-office” messaging system in place?
As we mentioned in part one of this series not any one of these factors overrules the other and it does show how complex setting up one of these businesses is and how many things the owners and staff have to think about in order to deliver a quality experience for their customers. Its very easy for us to come along and review what they have done, but they have to produce the doing bit, consistently and for a wide variety of people with different expectations and abilities.
In the final instalment of our three part series we will turn our attention to the people side of the business, in particular the atmosphere that is created through staff and the quality of flight instruction.