Something abstract lays under the surface of our travel experience, behind the level of engagement we can feel during our holiday or while making an activity. Especially when it’s a holiday the experience that we are talking about.
It’s part of the second secret ingredient for a perfect travel experience, that is education, it’s irreversible, and is the soul of our memories.
The soul of a memorable experience is transformation.
The two Experience Marketing gurus, Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore (1998) focused their attention right on change. They explained that transformation can make a permanent beneficial change to a person. Whilst experiences are memorable and are sustained for a certain lapse of time, transformations are inspirational and are sustained through time. They are the result of a good, well performed (and staged) experience.
How could we try and offer to our guests truly inspirational experiences, that produce good transformation on them and as a consequence give happy and vivid memories?
This post is about the second secret ingredient of a good travel experience: education.
Education and tourism, it can be fun
Focusing on education, while offering a travel experience means to be conscious that our guests want to learn something. The experience should be based on learning and teaching.
They will leave with the feeling to be richer, seeing some of their skills improved.
In fact educational tourism is one of the fastest growing areas of the travel and tourism and one that is too often overlooked by tourism professionals and marketers, maybe because since the school time we can think about learning as something connected with the words “boring”, “tiring” and “sleepy”…
But it isn’t that kind of learning we are meaning!
Our guests want to learn something
If they want to learn, how could we offer to our guests the best educational experience?
The ideas are almost endless, you only have to recall what is your best skill you could easily teach to your guest. But this is still not enough: you have to practice with it and find out a funny and engaging way to pass it to your visitors. The learning experience should become part of their holiday, so it should be worth and engaging. You have to build the right atmosphere, choosing the perfect location and being natural with it. What do you think you could teach that your guests would like to pay for?
It’s easier than you think!
If you surf the net for a while, you will find plenty of travel packages that offer educational experiences. But which of them do you reckon a tourist will always remember as a “wonderful, fulfilling experience”?
Two ideas to transform your guests, and win the educational experience prize:
Pasta, pizza, oil and wine
We know, Italy is worldwide famous for its food and fruits of the earth. Have you ever tried to explain to a foreign guest the recipe for “tagliatelle al ragù” or how to bake the perfect pizza?
We bet you will be amazed by their reaction. Tourists are always interested in home-made stuff, they want to discover how the things are done and they want to see us doing them. To watch us kneading fresh pasta would already be a fun experience for them, imagine what a great experience would be if we tried to teach them how to. Organize a workshop, gather your guests together into your kitchen and you’ll see. Later, of course, a delicious hand-made lunch or dinner will follow, and learning experience is done. They will go home feeling themselves enriched, telling their friends what they have learned and showing them funny pictures. They will feel transformed. They will go home happy.
Italian, language of the poets
Another typical experience of learning for foreign tourists is with our language. Italy is one of the most charming place in the world for tourists. They love our monuments, our food, our culture and, of course, our language. Italian is also considered as a very romantic language, one that people can learn for the pleasure of speaking it and to enjoy their trips around the Peninsula. So why don’t you consider to host an Italian language class? Of course, not a school-style class, but a place where people can meet each other’s, speak and find new friends, while learning our beautiful language. Tell them about your region, about your story and your place. The best place to learn any language is to immerse yourself in it: so what better way to learn Italian than in Tuscany and in Florence, where modern Italian was born?
Education may seem something to “school-ish” or difficult to be realized, but learning is really one of the most important ingredients of a memorable experience. The process of transformation your guests will go through is fundamental to help enriching the feeling of engagement to the people and to places. And to strengthen the success of the experience you offer.
If you want your visitors to go back home happy and enriched by your service, consider education as one of your fellows!