Value is that odd little derivative that we really can’t pin down adequately enough. We can skim right close to the edge, but never acquire the true depth. Value is odd that way. The old formula stipulates that it is benefits of doing something minus the cost of doing something. And one of my students in my HT 140 class asked a beauty of a question the other day. In her entrepreneurial class they speak of perceived value. Where does that fit in? (I can’t tell you how my spirit was dancing about when this happened. I saw the light bulb hovering over her head and becoming brighter).
I told her yes value is a perception. Everyone in the class, even though you may have commonality among the variables that describe your life, your point of view is uniquely your own. It is accessing that information and utilizing it to its fullest that allows me to create an experience that will meet your expectations. But I am getting ahead of myself.
I constantly reiterate that anyone that wants to work in the tourism industry, that works in hospitality, in any facet must be prepared for anyone that walks through our door. That means being prepared before, during and after decision-making. Choices are made at different times for different reasons. Purchases can be made at any time. Doesn’t mean that those choices will be ultimately acted upon, but you have to be prepared.
Information is critical.
The foundation of value is information. One of the drivers of our industry.
We are all sales people in our industry. We are always in that mode and if not, should be. Anyone can sell a product, even the housekeeper up on the floors of hotel cleaning rooms. They have to be cognizant of the product they work with, and what that product means. What are its attributes, and amenities? What is the brand? What are the core values of the company, and how it defines that brand? A host of questions. You might think it too much for our employees, but they have as much stake in our companies as others. It is after all their job, like ours, on the line.
Never turn away from an opportunity, even if it is clouded in the mist of uncertainty.
Value cannot be realized unless we are in tune with every facet of our business, every function, and every process. Product and services. Even the human element has value. It is afterall the interaction in our industry that makes or breaks a deal.
Perceived value is a point of view. Perceived value is a constant in the nature of our lives. Children know this. They can determine value quite readily without even asking. They know the difference. It astounds me that my ten-year old nephew can rattle off the advantages and disadvantages of different Infinity Characters for his XBOX game as we shop for figurines to play with. He hasn’t quite caught the concept of budget yet, but hey he is only ten years old and value has a different meaning.
And that means value to us all changes over time with our lifestyle and progression along our life span.
How do we know the changes? We ask the right questions. We have to gain information, exchange it with our customers. My nephew is constantly scouring YouTube for videos about his favorite games and characters. I am sure he has heated debates with his friends over the games that each of them plays. He’s a sponge. And maybe that is the lesson all of us that strive to work in this industry need to remember. Seek and find, soak up and digest information. Analyze and also, just let it be. Let it incubate, and watch what happens. Opportunities to act may not be readily apparent, but if we don’t watch and listen, we won’t see it coming. We won’t have that moment.
And that leads into the concept of ‘Moment of Truth’ in tourism, hospitality.
Over the course of that progression, before, during and after stages of decision-making, we can create and fulfill those moments of truth. Where perception is validated. Where the benefits of doing something have diminished the cost to a negligible register that people will act. We want to convert interest to use. We want to convert curiosity. We want people to walk through our doors and eventually return. We want to create loyalty.
So value is something measurable and not. We can’t read people’s minds or dive into the heart of their perceptions without asking the right questions. And we can’t be afraid of asking those questions. A good manager asks the right questions. A great manager questions those questions, and takes risks to find better questions. Sometimes it isn’t about the answers. It is about those questions that drive deep into the heart of something and opens the all the doors.