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Analysis off the new tourism economy (through Irish examples)

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A service can be defined as the non-material equivalent of a good. Service provision has been defined as an economic activity that does not result in ownership, and this is what differentiates it from providing physical goods. It is claimed to be a process that creates benefits by facilitating a change in customers, a change in their physical possessions, or a change in their intangible assets.

In contrast, an experience is described as: The sensation of interaction with a product, service, or event, through all of our senses, over time, and on both physical and cognitive levels. The boundaries of an experience can be expansive and include the sensorial, the symbolic, the temporal, and the meaningful.

In this age of competition, distinguishing experiences from services is what opens up economic possibilities for businesses to gain competitive advantage. If societies are to seek continued economic prosperity, the next step in this process is that they must stage exhibitions ? as in the past, this new industry will add sufficient value to their economies to employ the masses (goods and services are no longer enough).

Staging Experiences is the next step in the progression of economic value. Some key characteristics of an experience which distinguish it from other economic offerings are that it should be: -Relevant to the needs of customers -Differentiated from its competitors -Priced at a Premium Level.

In recent times, many firms have started to evolve from merely offering a customer a service transaction to creating an experience for them. Experiences create added value by engaging and connecting with the customer in a memorable way.

A service experience manager must push for continuous innovation and improvement in quality and productivity of both the service and the service providers, i.e. the front line staff who have personal contact with the customers.

When a person buys a service, he purchases a set of intangible activities carried out on his behalf. But when he buys an experience, he pays to spend time enjoying a series of memorable events that a company stages ? as in a theatrical play ? to engage him in a personal way.

The difference essentially between a service and an experience is value. Value is defined as ?the advantage obtained through a specific action, related to the needs of an individual, at a given moment, minus any costs incurred searching for such benefits?.

Tourism has become a saturated market. The current challenge for destinations is to create high customer value through innovative new products in order to maintain competitive edge.

At first glance it may seem that experiences are only associated with the entertainment industry. This is not the case, however the entertainment industry are the market leaders when it comes to offering experiences. For example, Disney Resort is seen as the expert in offering an experience; the workers are called actors, you the visitor are the guests and the theme park becomes the stage.

All companies in all sectors should be looking to engage the customer in a memorable way, creating an experience for them. For example, the restaurant Pizza Hut will offer a lot more than just a meal, they host birthday parties for children, complete with games, songs and everything else needed to make a child's day.

Tags: tourism; tourism economy; Ireland; examples of Irish tourism

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