Monday, February 14, 2005


Do we really know what tourism is? We hear a lot of people in a lot of places talking about “tourism this, tourism that”… But what are we really talking about? In simple words: Tourism is service.

Now, what is service? When we help someone in need, that is service. When we help someone and do it in a friendly way, that is better service. When we go all out to give that person our best level of attention, that is excellent service.

Imagine the following situation: Mr. Schmidt misses his early flight. As a result, he also misses his connecting flight later that day. When he finally arrives at the hotel, he discovers he lost his wallet. The hotel receptionist verifies his reservation, but Mr. Schmidt is no longer found in the system (he doesn’t have a room because his late arrival automatically cancelled his reservation) and to make things worse, the receptionist has no idea what to do.

Tourism is service and service has three moments:

The Moment of Misery

The Moment of Truth

The Moment of Magic

When we have a tourist in a situation like Mr. Schmidt’s, we have the opportunity to analyze what excellent service is:

The Moment of Misery: Mr. Schmidt missed his flights and no longer has a reservation at the hotel.

The Moment of Truth: The receptionist books a room for him and helps him deal with the need to cancel credit cards, bank cards, etc.

But for Mr. Schmidt, the most important moment will be the Moment of Magic, that extra unexpected attention that will put a positive spin on his bad day. The receptionist books a him a better room (one was available) than what Mr. Schmidt had originally reserved and she has a small fruit basket placed in it. She offers him a free cocktail in the hotel restaurant and even gives him a discount good for his next stay at the hotel.

What do you think will happen? Mr. Schmidt goes home raving to his family, friends and colleagues about the excellent service he received and urges all of them to stay at that same hotel when they travel.


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