or gathering information?
On a recent trip to Iceland (before the pandemic) I visited one of the 25 wonders of the World - the Blue Lagoon (BG). It was a glorious experience, one that will stay with me for a long time.
I met a friend from San Francisco there. She called saying she got a cheap flight - wondering if I might join her on the trip to split costs. I googled 'cheap flights' and found one too. She suggested, "lets' think about it, let's talk about it in a few days and see if it's a good idea." I responded, "we have cheap flights now, should we just book it?" A few weeks later we found ourselves in the midst of an unimaginable experience. Our first stop - the Blue Lagoon. We arrived early - at 9:00 a.m. and had the full experience at the Blue Lagoon including hiking the trails. We didn't leave until late that evening.
A travel book I found at a resale store, one we started referring to as the "guideless guidebook" suggested the Blue Lagoon was worth a few hours stay. I guess it depends on who you are, but I could've easily spent a few days there. I can see myself hopping on a plane, staying a couple of days at the resort, spending time to relax and restore, and then catching the Northern Lights in the winter time.
The Lagoon itself is a marvel. The average temperature of the water is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, there's a swim up bar stocked with skyr drinks, soft drinks, beer, wine and champagne. An indulgent, in-water massage is a must.
A kiosk inviting feedback was situated near the Blue Lagoon store. I was eager to share information. Unfortunately the kiosk only captured an email address so you could be contacted later. I encouraged my friend to sign up too as we were gushing over the experience. We had so much feedback we actually took notes so we wouldn't forget.
The survey arrived a week later, starting with a disclaimer by a market research firm stating that they were capturing information for the Blue Lagoon. The questions were all quantitative 'on a scale of 1 to 10' rate X. There was no opportunity to share insights. The lack of interest dampened the experience a little and made me sorry I took the time to share my email. I texted my friend, a neuroscientist with a demanding job and told her not to waste her time with this.
Still aglow from the experience we texted back and forth about our disappointment in the ability to provide feedback.
What would they have learned if they asked?
We loved it. BG suggests you put hair cream in your hair because the silica and sulfur will be really drying. True. We couldn't get enough of the conditioner. We thought it might be nice to have more of it positioned near the lagoon.
The use of digital technology was inspired. A bracelet likely embedded with an RFID chip was used to open and close lockers that stored your clothes. In addition the bracelet captured payment information for anything you purchased -- except for meals in the restaurant or purchases at the store. We would've liked that to be added too minimizing the need to go to the locker to get payment.
The meal was exquisite. The. Best. Cod. I've. Ever. Eaten. The guideless guidebook said it wasn't worth the money. The prix fixe was $65 US - about what you would spend in any large city. The portions were more than generous and we ate every bite. My friend had lamb, where two cuts of meat were provided the shanks and the flank cut. It was divine. We gladly paid the price. There were no refills on coffee. We would've liked that but understand why there wasn't - this coffee was not from a percolator.
The massage is not to be missed. My masseuse, Hans, suggested as I lay on the float preparing for the service "the more relaxed you will be, the more stable you will be." We laughingly agreed that statement is a paradigm for life.
Why weren't we asked for any feedback even though significant hard dollar investment had been made to capture feedback?
I have a few guesses. One is quantitative information is much easier to summarize and present. 70% of those who attended said it was their first time to Iceland . . . " Quantitative information is helpful. However, I've seen it reduced to a 'check a box' mentality i.e. we've done that and met our market research requirement. Reports that are no longer read get passed around. This is an unfortunate perspective.
There's more risk in reading the prose I provided, more analysis needs to occur, decisions might be made, individual insights will occur, there may be disagreements -- and there's a chance people could be wrong. That's the art, science, beauty and fun of soliciting qualitative feedback.
Taking a risk creates the opportunity for greatness to occur. Not doing so allows industry disruptors to emerge; leaving leaders to wonder what happened, scrambling to keep up.
#travel #dining #exploring #adventure #luxury #finedining