In the year 2000 I presented my doctoral thesis about how to apply complex systems in the Tourism sector (it was all about adding value through customized 3 C’s: Content, Commerce and Community). Even though I was (and still am) a Touristologist builder, I have always believed that you have to get experience out of the classroom. For that reason, I love to work as a consultant and entrepreneur!
My mind was full of ideas related to the new internet business model and I had been improving my coding skills focused on web languages (basically, Java) .So, I was ready to work for a big consultancy company. I sent my CV, I asked for personal interviews, I asked for colleagues to recommend me… Not Touristologists I was NOT just waiting for a call… I was PROVOKING a call. In the same way that we have to seduce customers to come to our tourism destination or lodging enterprise, we have to seduce employers in order to get a good job. But you already know that!
One of these job interviews was for applying to “E-business product manager for the Health sector”. In the middle of the interview I got this question…
So, you have experience in hotels but what about in hospitals?
Well – I confidently replied.- At the end of the day, they are quite similar. Beds, Food and Beverage and customized servuction!
Are you joking? -Asked the perplexed Interviewer?
Once more the lack of vision about Servuction doesn’t allow me to get a job.
Lack of vision or destiny, Touristologists? After the Interview I got a phone call that ended up with me becoming an E-business product manager for the Tourism sector!!!
Tourism, Health and Education are very good examples of servuction. In all three, the participation of the customer is the key for a good output. In all three, Internet brings new opportunities for customizing the services and creating groups of customers and, as you know, “GROUPS” is another word carved into my mind.
Was I joking? No my friend! I was dead serious!
A few weeks ago, Josep Baselga was talking about how cancer treatment is changing thanks to new technologies and the ability to deal with big data. Until now, pharmaceutical companies have had to discover a cure, a way to improve health, or how to avoid metastasis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metastasis) if you get a tumor. Then they create a pill and sell it through pharmacies that get a 30% of margin.
BUT nowadays, we know (explain Mr. Baselga), that each tumor is different. Tumors are not a contagious disease. It is something that we develop in a different way based on our DNA. So, we need to create customized pills for each customer. We need to change the process. You send your DNA, based on that, we create the pills and then send it to your home (or maybe in the future we will be able to print them using a 3D printer!!!!)
Is this process so different to big tour operators selling products through travel agencies (well, an important difference is the commission that travel agencies get!!!)? Tour Operators buy plenty of rooms getting economy of scales which allow them to offer very competitive prices for a strongly price orientated customer.
But nowadays, people want experiences. Is there an easier way to create that for them than using customized 3 C’s??? People want to travel and also get what tourism can provide to them: A new perspective, international contacts, healing wounds (both physical and psychological); learning new things (especially multidisciplinary ones); giving a bust to their creativity…..
So, we learn what is important to the tourists, we learn the best way to provoke an experience and we sell a customized dynamic packaging to them!
Are you able to see the parallels? Are you able to see that I wasn’t joking?
Is it so different in education? Where different students have different multiple intelligences. Where different students have different backgrounds (both academic and professional). Where different students have different taste and are looking for different opportunities?
Now as 15 years ago…. Tourism, Health and Education are good examples of servuction! So, getting data and transforming it into knowledge in order to customize the experience is the key for any successful Trip, Treatment or Education process! I am not joking! As sure as Touristology is a science!!!