Customer delight Robinsons Club style.

Robinsons Beach from the Beach Bar

I know this is not a travel blog, but I can’t help but flaunt a few sunkissed photos from my recent holiday in Turkey, with an advertorial twist of course. After all, one is never truly “off work”.

During the last months I have had projects ranging from CEO speeches to advertorials, video texts, websites, case studies, white papers, adverts, flyers, trade fair concepts and workshop development for international marketing meetings. The red thread that seems to connect them all is the desire to create customer delight and unforgettable customer experiences. However, there is a fine line between romancing and totally irritating your customers. Sometimes just enough is better than more and most often you can become a trailblazer by just being true to your brand and company values and letting the customers do the work. Back to my holiday: I recently booked a club holiday in Antalya, Turkey for seven days at a Robinsons Club. Not being the “club holiday” type (more of the Jack Kerouac “On The Road” kind of gal) I was quite skeptical, although the amount of sports on offer made me succumb to spending a week with 800 other people in a carefully manicured and thoroughly choreographed holiday location.

From the moment I landed in Antalya and was met by my private chauffeur to be transferred to the hotel – a 45 minute drive punctuated by my attempts using my iPhone to hold a Turkish conversation with the driver about the beauty of the moon, the length of the drive and the fantastically lit hotels along the coast – to my last Latte on the breakfast terrace with a view of the Mediterranean Sea, I changed my mind about the concept of club holidays. At least at a Robinsons Club. And I took home some marketing intelligence on top:

1. Have a clear concept and divide your product portfolio accordingly. Robinsons Clubs are divided into Family and Couple/Singles clubs so everyone knows what they are in for – for example, some people would go through the roof with 50+ 1-3 year olds screaming at the top of their lungs (nobody told them they are supposed to be on holiday). I found it endearing and loved that I was NOT responsible for any of them. Instead I got to enjoy the small touches meant for the kids but which made me smile nonetheless like this elephant towel at the beach bar.

Everyday a new animal towel.

2. A smile is worth a thousand words. At Robinsons Clubs the employees must have to sign some kind of happiness contract. They all work 16+ hours a day doing a wide spectrum of activities from teaching sports and serving in the dining room to performing in a rotating 10 show program that is surprisingly professional. On top of that they mingle with the guests from morning to evening. And they always have a smile on their face – from the gardeners to the housekeeping staff and through to the trainers and management, I did not see a single frown in seven days. No doubt it is fun to work where the sun always shines, but I can imagine that you also have to deal with some people who are a real pain where the sun never shines. Still…smiling is a 24/7 job at a Robinsons Club. And you know what? It’s contagious. Even though down deep I know these people are paid to smile, it made me feel customer delight.

Smiling is a 24/7 job at a Robinsons Club.

3. Find ways to get your customers talking to each other. Obviously everyone is trying to do that on social media but this is only a tiny fraction of the conversation that needs to take place. At a Robinsons Club you can go alone but you will never feel lonely – unless you want to of course. Then you can retreat, as I did, to the giant hammocks hanging on the pier to stargaze all alone at night. I arrived on a Friday night and by Saturday I had met a great couple from Bayreuth and Frank from Bochum. Not only did that make my holiday even more unforgettable, but we also talked a lot about the club and, in that way, mirrored and amplified our customer loyalty. Offline sharing is maybe even more powerful than what your brand fans post online – maybe because it seems to come more naturally and from the heart.

Frank from Bochum.

Birgit und Daniel from Bayreuth

4. Pay attention to the details and punctuate your communications with special offers, special events and themed acitivites that match your brand personality. At the Robinsons Club they have different culinary themes every night. Once a week they have a Pirate night and a Gala Dinner. And, over a 10 day cycle a few more other special evening events. At sunset they have a chill out hour on the pier with wine and beer and music…I personally loved the pirate night the best, but then I love to dress up!

Jack Sparrow and yours truly!

Robinsons Club staff grilling fish on the beach in a rowboat.

Gala Evening at the Robinsons Club.

5. Create a strategy of desire. If you want to build customer loyalty you have to find original and authentic ways to fulfill the longing for happiness and freedom that we all have. Thinking in logical steps is important on paper but profiting from the power of feelings is a whole other ball game. This is maybe the most important impulse that I brought home with me. Open heart, open mind. Regardless of what industry you work in, instead of thinking in marketing terms, try to look for ideas that make you laugh your ass off and feel more alive. Feelings first helps you focus on what matters most – to your brand and to your customers. Without feelings there is no delight. Turkish or otherwise.

And now it is back to the real world and, of course, it is raining today. But the sun is still shining inside and I have a week’s worth of Robinsons Club energy powering me forward. Thanks again to Frank and Daniel for taking me sailing and a hearty Ahoi to one and all from offshore!

My Captains.

Clear sailing. The moment you say yes to acting on your desire is the real beginning.


  1. Frank says:

    Hi mishe,

    Klasse story, wirklich sehr sehr gut! Ich ├╝berlege, ob ich dem robinson management eine info zukommen lasse.

    Mein handy ist defekt und ich bin ein paar tage nicht erreichbar. Bis bald….dein Frank

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