In addition, customers’ overall perception of value is very much affected by the experiences they have during the delivery of their expectations (i.e. trip delivery in tourism terminology). They very often define value, too, from the feelings and benefits they receive from belonging to a particular group or community. Status and image derived from group identity and community dynamics are powerful motivators. Harley Davidson Motor Cycles, for example, have become a leading global brand of motorcycles based on developing their community of HOGS (Harley Owners Group), people that love to wear the brand, logo, promote and attend Harley Davidson events (see http://events.harley-davidson.com/ ). How can one replicate this for coach and group travel companies?
To conclude, customers no longer simply define value in terms of price, features and advantages of products and services. Coach & group travel customers define value by how their personal and also group expectations are fulfilled. If their expectations are not fulfilled they will change to other forms of group holiday travel, e.g. ocean and / or river cruises. Coach & group holiday marketing and sales people should always try to identify these expectations and fulfil them in terms of overall trip delivery experience. This might entail a change in perspective - from tour operating as such to designing experiences.
Developing a sense of community is also advisable in many instances (e.g. with social media, special events and incentives, supporting sustainable agriculture and / or environment / nature protection projects ). And last but not least - all communications should focus on employing strong emotional and / or iconic high-quality customer-centric images - for a good picture still tells a thousand stories, especially in times of rapidly growing mobile and social media usage.