Freedom from choice: Do we really need it?

Felicia PohFelicia Poh

"I want the kind that used to be the only kind."

-Barry Schwartz

Imagine... You embark a plane, your favourite glass of white wine is waiting at your seat, then you switch-on the screen in front of you and it says "Good morning [name]"! Wouldn't that be nice?

plane personalised screens

I've been reading about personalisation for a while now, and how we live in a society that's so driven by what we want to see for ourselves; how the smallest things can have such a profound impact. For instance, having your flight hostess welcome you on board with your first name, or having a pen that has your initials etched on its cover in gold. There's something about the little things that can make such a difference to people.

Dale Carnegie famously wrote about how a person’s name is the sweetest sound to them. And I think this applies to more than just the name… This applies to situations that people know they've been put in – just like a stranger, or a travel app that knows the activities you like, and is able to recommend them to you.

Freedom from Choice

So I thought a little bit more about what it means to have choices presented to us - whether we gain freedom from knowing we have choices, or freedom from knowing we have personalised, tailored recommendations just for us?

Is it a good thing if we're offered a list of never-ending choices? How do we highlight activities in a catalog in a way that isn't, simply, overwhelming? Consider the thousands of social media platforms out there - which ones would we choose to try out, and would we rather have the choice narrowed down for us?

personalisation in the travel industry, airport

Simplification of choice

Barry Schwartz delivers an incredibly powerful talk on the Paradox of Choice. I know you know what the paradox of choice is, but watch this. He sparks a thought-provoking conversation on what we do when given too many choices - the result is we shift the responsibility of the decision-making to others.

He says,

"It's easy to imagine you could have made a better choice.

The more options there are, the easier it becomes to regret anything there is about the decision you chose."

This is why I think simplifying choices is great. This means that we won't have to think about what to wear in the morning, what song to listen to, or what activity to go for - if we're limited by choice that has been simplified and tailored just for us. And when you don't know the choices you have, you won't be faced with an escalation of expectations. Of what other choices you could have made.

"Adding options to people's lives leads can't help but increase expectations, and this produces less satisfaction with results even when they're good results."

Over time, this inculcates a habit in us.

Think about the way Spotify does it - where they limit their Discover Weekly playlists to an average of 2 hours playlist that pops up in your Spotify every Monday morning. One, they actually make it something we look forward to. And two, they don't overload the user because this playlist appears magically in your list without any push notifications or prompts.

When we have access to Artificial Intelligence or an app that knows us, we'd wonder why we ever needed access to choices. And so if someone says "I know what you like" and gives me a personalised list of options, I'll welcome them with open arms and say, I'll take it.

How is personalisation changing the travel industry?

Personalisation is not only changing travel, but also the world, and especially the way we expect things to work. Data is now being collected everywhere; systems, apps and companies are getting increasingly intelligent. By using the right data we can predict, personalise, tailor, and suggest things to do. Even with just four main dimensions: user (person), time, location (space) and product, using all of these at the same time can create amazing things.

That's what Leezair is doing.

Imagine landing at a new destination, receiving a personalised welcome, and having an app on your phone give you information about all there is to do around you, saying "Good morning Felicia, we found great experiences available during your stay in Paris! Would you like to discover them?"

Sounds incredible? Far-fetched? Maybe... Maybe not in time to come. What sounds like an impossible reality right now could be real in the future - and the near future at that.

Our personalised project is coming soon!

Leezair personalisation travel app

A personalised experience for tours and activities is coming your way, really soon. If you'd like to be the FIRST to try our app and get involved in our launch event celebrations, click here!

Felicia Poh
Thanks for reading guys!

Felicia Poh

Sign up to get early access to our new personalised travel app.

Read more

More On Travel Tech Talk Things To Do