THE BLOG

FREE SMILES!

02/11/2015 10:24 GMT | Updated 30/10/2016 09:12 GMT

Over recent decades, there have been many great changes in the techniques of marketing and the creation of brands. Companies are increasingly using insights from neuroscience to try and understand the reactions of the human psyche. Consciously or not, the expectations of the consumer and the emotional impact of products and services upon the individual has grown as a result. From the use of credit cards to mobile phones, we are faced with individuals that are ever more connected with (and demanding of) a whole variety of services, from finance to tourism.

Such developments have arguably created a cognitive dissonance between the promises of marketing and advertising and the real (and often dissatisfied) experience of consumers. In countries that do not possess a strong culture of service, this dissonance is frequently the result of a lack of technical preparation, knowledge or understanding of the service culture. In regard to tourism, this can even occur in five-star hotels, where, for instance, a barman may not know a particular wine. Often even, in developed countries, service can be delivered poorly and with little enthusiasm.

In many countries, tips are compulsory as a way of pre-establishing a positive ambience and relationship with the customer. 'Luxury' came essentially to mean an expectation of quality treatment with customer satisfaction. The increasingly creative techniques of advertising agencies are in fact far from reality and have little connection to the quality of delivery of the products and services they are promising. The marketing companies are not naïve but have adopted a clever strategy of social conditioning. This irritates us greatly in Brazil, because the promised experiences of service in many countries so often clashes with reality.

The more I travel around the world, the more I am convinced of the necessity of good service and importance of human warmth, as displayed by the people of Latin America and in particular the Brazilians. The visible quality of Brazil's hospitality has already been demonstrated to the millions of tourists that visit our cities each year. We want even more international visitors to visit our country and we want to continually improve the way we look after them. We want to show them that experiencing Brazil is unique and radiate the truly Brazilian characteristic of welcoming foreign visitors with a smile and an embrace for free.

In summary, we want to offer our guests an experience that meets their consumer expectations and to improve the perception of our tourist destinations. For instance, the planning and experience of a trip to Brazil does not end for the tourist with the buying of tickets or the selection of a hotel, but continues throughout their stay. We are aware that feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction from a trip continue long after leaving a country.

Satisfaction is directly related to the acquisition of the anticipated services and products as well as expectations during the journey. If the experience of foreign visitors surpasses their expectations of Brazil, they will feel pleased and this will inevitably help to improve our image. However, if the experience falls short of customer expectations and they are dissatisfied, a dissonance between what was offered and what was delivered could be generated.

An excellent service is more than just the infrastructure or tourist attraction aspects of native hospitality. It concerns the feelings of all involved in the tourism sector and strives to attend to the needs and wishes of visitors. Quality tourist experiences are fundamental for gaining positive exposure of Brazil.

The difference between what is promised and what is delivered should be subject to reality indicators for the psychological benefit of society. The trend of advertising trickery - in tourism as much as other areas - opposes the desire to provide quality service in Brazil and in our world. We will focus on valuing a free smile!