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A Quick, Intriguing Take on “Matching” Guest Expecations

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Expectations are a very, very interesting thing.

They need to be high enough to match the requested price. But get them too high and you risk dissatisfaction.

Take this tweet for example:

There are two ways you could think about this scenario and Trainer Road’s product.

Perspective #1: Lacking Sales Copy
The first thought is that Trainer Road should work on their sales copy because people are only discovering some features AFTER they sign up. With more features listed, more people might covert.

Fair assessment, no?

Perspective #2: Delighting New Members
The second though is that they’ve played a very clever card in holding back some of their value. They clearly have enough to sell some people on their product, but by delivering something GREATER than they expected, it’s hard to imagine too many customers being dissatisfied.

An interesting thought as well.

The Weight of Features
In my mind, this brings me to a really interesting mental exercise where I start to assign weights to the features of a product. For example, a ski vacation’s “heaviest” features may be:

  • The snow.
  • The amenities.
  • The price.

While some of the “lighter” pieces could be:

  • The customer service.
  • The availability of wi-fi.
  • The lift lines.

With things like how the end of the toilet paper is folded or free cookies at 3pm coming further down the list.

The Line
Suddenly, I find myself trying to draw a line that indicates where packing a sales page or brochure with one extra feature is going to have zero net effect on the behavior of the people that read it.

That feature may still be valuable and it clearly still exists, so what if you could sell people with 80% of your features and leave the last 20% to surprise and delight incoming guests?

It may be 99/1 or 50/50, but the idea of tempering expectations just enough to have something left to exceed them is, in a word, intriguing.



  • Kevin Broderick

    it’s an interesting consideration on two fronts. First, there’s the exact issue you raised–at what point can you stop selling, have minimal or no effect on conversions, and leave yourself room to surpass expectations? I think the best answer is to sell expectations that you know you can meet, even when the weather isn’t cooperating and it’s a peak holiday weekend. You may still expect more of your staff–the internal expectation might be that even given those external limitations, you’ll exceed expectations for 80% or more of your guests–but no one will end up feeling that you promised an experience you failed to deliver.

    The other question is: if you exceed expectations on a regular basis, what happens to repeat customers? At some point, it’s probably going to become impossible to continue exceeding their expectations, even if you don’t ever promise to. If you’re trying to sell a “better-than-expected” experience—which is probably a great way to get your guests to tell their friends how great their visit was–it becomes harder with each successful visit for repeat customers.

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