Case study: Nextpedition- Mystery and ritual in business

travel case studyWe talk a lot of incorporating mystery and rituals in your business. It is one of the ways you become irresistible to a market.

Here is an example of a travel business using mystery and rituals to attract oodles of avid clients.

The name Nextpediton.

American Express has launched a travel service call Nextpedition.  On a Nextpedition vacation, we don’t get an itinerary. We get a succession of surprises.

AmEx doesn’t tell us where we’re going until the last minute. Only when you get there you get to know what you are going to visit. An envelope appears, pushed under the door of our hotel room, or a message issues from our smartphone.

Amex knows that the consumer that wants all the details about his or her trip does not exist anymore.

Why they do it this way?

It creates sense of anticipation. (“What will happen?”) And serendipity. (“What could happen?”) And adventure. (“This should be great!”) Most of all, it delivers a warm current of randomness. Our life is unpredictable. But not “Oh, my God, the sky is falling” unpredictable. No, this is carefully managed chaos. Just enough. Almost like a game.

This customization is important because we want our experience to play out as if directed by a gentle randomness.

The Nextpedition system makes a modest effort to profile us before building our vacations, so our Nextpedition is likely to fall somewhere in the envelope of things we like. But both AmEx and the traveler are taking a risk.

“We created the Travel Signs so that anyone, regardless of if they plan to travel in the near future, can help define what they want out of a travel experience” says Amex. They divide the prospects into groups:

  • Adrenalista – Outdoor adventurers that love to travel
  • Tasteblazer – Foodies always out to explore new places and flavors
  • Technologian – Travelers who explore the world with hi-tech toys
  • Trengineer – Style gurus who seek inspiration from their travels
  • Scenester – Underground influencers on the global music/fashion scene

The company targets people in their 20’s and 30’s.

To explore taking a NEXTPEDITION trip, the consumer must consult with a specially trained American Express NEXTPEDITION Specialist who will create a mystery itinerary based on the Travel Sign. NEXTPEDITION Specialists are experienced American Express Travel Counselors selected and trained to take information generated from the Travel Profiler and blend it with budget preferences, personal interests and past travel history to develop and customize an itinerary.

A specially programmed, on loan Smartphone called a Travel Console will arrive at the consumer’s home a few days before departure. The device communicates the traveler’s itinerary, Lonely Planet guidebook content, restaurant recommendations, and other helpful travel tools. The Travel Console also allows travelers to share the details of their experience on Facebook through a personalized travel log.

Mistakes in Business Choreography

Having the right business choreography is crucial in today’s age. There are times however that we make wrong decisions and that can impact our business for many years. Just like the one in the comic book’s industry.
On this episode of BuzzBooster TV we’ll talk about this, about a new social media tool called Tout. Some say it is better than Twitter and our stay with the president.

Client attraction, sushi, price elasticity and business choreography

I’d like to show you some strategies on client attraction by telling you a story of a sushi restaurant in Japan.

Now, maybe you are not in the restaurant business so wherever I write restaurant just mentally substitute for your own business and when I write sushi substitute by your own products or services. These strategies apply to any type of business.

There is a restaurant in Japan that sells sushi, like many others in that area.

This one is run by sushi chef Jiro that is 85 years old.

He has a very small restaurant. Only 10 seats. Note, not 10 tables but 10 chairs.

There are no appetizers, soups or any other option than sushi. Is a sushi only place.

For you to dine there, you will pay $385 a person. Yes, $385 to eat sushi only.

You also have to make reservations, no walk-ins there. The reservation needs to be made at least a month in advance.

Yes, you are going to eat the best sushi there is to eat and will have a unique experience but probably not the type of experience you are thinking: an informal dinner with friends and a lot of talking.

You will eat in front of chef Jiro san. He will prepare sushi one by one and one at a time put the sushi in front of you, keeping an eye on how you eat, what you say, how you say. Yes, a little intimidating but you still need to make reservations a month in advance for the privilege of dinning there.

There is no shortage of people that will pay $385 for a sushi dinner at this restaurant.

Why other sushi restaurants cannot do the same?

Of course he provides the best quality sushi you can dream of and he is a perfect sushi chef. But there is more.

  • As an entrepreneur he is obsessed with his business always trying to find ways to improve. He believes entrepreneurs need to work hard. Not a big fan of a 4 hour work week book. We have something in common.
  • He says that as a business owner you need to be impatient, that is how you get things done.
  • You need to improve your skills always. There is no such thing as I know all and don’t need to work on self- improvement anymore.
  • You need to establish a standard of self- discipline. This is a point where a lot of entrepreneurs fail because they mix the fact that they have more freedom with the need to have discipline in business in order to have a successful business.
  • Be self-critical. Try to see the weak points in you first.
  • Always be looking ahead
  • Be in peace with the fact that as an entrepreneur you will always be a better leader than collaborator. It is your nature.
  • Passion needs to be there all the time. Even when things get rough.
  • It is ok to insist in having things your way, after all, you decide how to run your business.

oh, I’m sorry, you were expecting some easy  tips to attract more clients?

Not today. You see, client attraction starts with you, with how you see your business and how you position yourself at the head of the business. Your mindset and standards. Then it goes on how you create your business choreography in every single touch point with clients and prospects.

If you  don’t create this business choreography, you will have to settle for market price and get whoever knocks at your door.

There is sushi everywhere, here and in Japan. You can eat sushi at a $10 buffet.

How on Earth can he charge such top prices? I told you how.

There are too many of us, it doesn’t matter the industry you are in.

We need to differentiate ourselves not just because marketers tell you so but because it is how you thrive.

It is not enough for you to make a decision to charge high end prices. Everything else needs to be aligned in order for you to be able to do that and to attract people willing to pay. For that to happen you need to rethink all of the above.

It is in every detail. Jiro san trains his staff. Each member goes to a 10 year training with Jiro before they can be called a sushi chef inside the restaurant.

We now live in the age of outsourcing. How much training do you provide to your team members? hum!

Do you have people posting messages for you on social media? Editing videos? following people? Every social media output is a touch point. Don’t take that as a minor thing.

While some years ago 7 to 8 touch points with a prospect would lead to a sale, today you need an average of 18 touch points before the person even considers buying from you.

Position your business for success and create a business choreography. Become the Jiro in your industry