Adding value to travel

BY Mark Carter

Today we are living in the ‘experience economy’ and travel is a significant expense that today’s society puts value in, as these quotes below demonstrate:

“The value of travel is not just the travel but what the travel makes of you,” said Robin Sharma.

Tenzing Norgay reflected, “To travel, to experience and to learn, that is to live.”

And according to Siji Menon, “It’s not the price, it’s the value that matters.”

So what is the experience economy? Harvard Business Review summarises the evolution of the economy over time like this:

  • Agrarian economy: make a cake yourself with raw ingredients
  • Goods based economy: pay for pre-packaged ingredients for ease
  • Service economy: having other specialists make the cake for you
  • Experience economy: it’s about packaged, total memorable events where the cake is likely thrown in for free.

When it comes to travel, we can see that same evolution:

  • Local holidays
  • Packaged holidays
  • Specialist agents organizing everything, including itineraries
  • Next level trips and tours with bundled excursions and experiences galore

For travel agents, you are perfectly placed to lead the charge towards the experience economy.

In order to encourage this change and growth in customers viewing society as in the experience economy, Qualtrics (a leading experience management company) suggests that businesses focus on turning customers into fanatics, products into obsessions, employees into ambassadors and brands into religions.

I suggest owners and managers of travel businesses take the time to sit down and brainstorm ways to tap into the talent in your business and leverage the tools available in the market in order to bring growth and provide more value for your customers in the experience economy.

The experience economy brings to life the mantra ‘it’s not about the price, it’s about the value.’

So what is value? For almost two decades I’ve researched the concept of value and I’ve found it is perception-based and individual to each person.

That said I believe that businesses can have an holistic model that allows value to be created for all. The keys to this model are:

  • Tangible value: measurable impact, dollars, percentages, numbers and time
  • Emotional value: build and share stories, engage the senses, personalisation and unique innovation
  • Service value: solve problems, deliver long term positive possibilities, impact communities and respect the environment
  • Relationship value: the manner in which you operate, character traits, including spreading kindness and love

My challenge to you is to consider how you and your team can contribute to these four different factors that build a wholistic sense of value for customers. Remember in this experience economy, value is vital!

Twenty years ago, Mark Carter worked for Contiki Holidays as industry trainer and leader across Europe. Today he’s a sought after speaker with global experience. He’s accredited in a plethora of behavioral science, leadership and sales tools in addition to two decades hands on global experience as a leading professional in the field of human development. You can access more of Marks content via his website & social channels: www.markcarter.com.au

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