When I begin classes, I have to revisit the tourism business environment. I explain that the drivers of that system are information, money and promises. Promises are paramount in meeting the expectations and wants of the consumer.
A destination’s marketing organization as well as individuals within the infrastructure, can paint this rosy picture, and beautifully wrap up a package of potential. They can set the price, design the products, and wait for the phone to ring or chirp of an in-box email with a processed receipt. They can actively seek out and sell their destination attributes far and wide, especially in today’s global environment.
Working behind the scenes, that may be known and unknown, expressed, or implied, even assumed is the vague and concrete form of promises. The action is an exchange. Communication is vital for understanding. Miscommunication can mean disaster.
And yet there is undefinable aspect of promises and that has to do with expectations–point of view, point of reality of each individual tourist. Quality and quantity, value mean something different to everyone. And therefore, it is hard to measure, hard to understand, hard to define value for each individual.
The only concrete is in the written terms to any agreement, and we all know we should read that fine print. Ask that question to gain knowledge. But there are unwritten promises executed every day. Usually this in the interaction between human beings.
What we want in tourism is to have the guest return to our destination. Promises are made throughout the guest cycle–before, during and after. If we as host, do not live up to those promises articulated, and implied, the probability of return diminishes with each negative incident.
Therefore, promises are important to create loyalty and competitive advantage. They are our moment of truth that distinguishes us from others. We cannot survive without them or the partnerships they create.