To say everything is an Experience, is to say nothing at all.
Quote from Matt Walker, chief storyteller at LikeWhere, in an article on PhocusWire this week.
Service or experience economy: What’s your business?
Perhaps it's time for a period of so-called "home truths" in the travel industry - such is the propensity for it to focus on buzz phrases and how these then fit into every apparent process required to function.
In short: the ongoing creep of management consultant-led lingo bingo into far too many corners of how the industry operates, in reality, paints over the cracks of problems but also has a tendency to divert attention away from what actually works well.
Walker is correct when he says the "semantic pervasion of the Experience Economy has rendered everything from basic economy to free Twinkies in the foyer of a hotel as an 'authentic experience'."
It begs belief that passengers who board a $50 flight between two European cities are worried about the "experience" in the same terms as those that have paid $500 for a room night at a swanky hotel or private accommodation penthouse in one of those same cities.
Sure, they want to arrive on time, be treated well by the crew and have their luggage be there at the same time as they get to the destination - yet the sector has a bizarre desire to bundle the two completely different types of use-case under the same, increasingly meaningless terminology.
In fact, such is the obsession with "experience" that the mere utterance of it may, in turn, have a detrimental effect on the very guests that they are trying to impress with their claims of superior service for something that is, let's face it, just normal.
Some might go even further. Hotels are at the sharp end of this apparent move to describe the guest stay as an experience, yet is that really the case?
Guests want their stay to be comfortable, to feel like they're special in the minds of the property's staff, perhaps luxurious, but would they - when they return home - describe their time at the hotel to be an "experience"?
The visit to the opera, a museum trip, taking part in a new and exciting activity when in the destination would be experience.
The focus on the "experience" falls short when those that are providing something as fundamentally simple as a seat on a plane or a bed in a hotel or house still manage to fail the basics.
Maybe it's time for a rethink on the word "experience" and the industry's fondness for sprinkling it over every aspect of the travel process.
Make the experience solely about the thing consumers do in a destination and, lest we forget, overwhelmingly the reason they go in the first place.