Episode 340: Lessons from Iceland


When you think about vacation spots, Iceland may not come up on everyone’s to-do list, but it did for Matt and a group of friends from his neighborhood. They wanted to experience the Northern Lights, Icelandic food and culture, and take in the beauty the country has to offer. In this episode, Matt and Josh discuss some of the experiences Matt and his friends had and how they relate to business and life. 

The first thing Matt and Josh discussed was a hot dog. Yes, a hot dog. As Matt and his friends researched things to do in Iceland, they kept hearing about this special hot dog that you could only get in Iceland, so they had to seek it out. 

It was a good hotdog, but the bigger lesson has to do with marketing and hype. We’ve all had hot dogs before, but the hype and attention this hot dog got made them think it was pretty special! If you believe in your product and tell a good story, people will want to seek you out. 

The next lesson also had to do with food, but this time it was the premium experience created by the staff at the Fish Company that elevated the dining experience. They took the time to explain each dish as they served them, which not only helped understand what they were eating, but also gave them something to talk about as they discussed our meal later. It was this detail that took an excellent meal and made it truly memorable. 

If you are going to walk on a glacier (a solid sheet of ice), you need special add-ons to your footwear. In a few places, crampons, or spikes were given out to put on your shoes to help navigate the glacier.  The problem is that when most people walk on ice, they naturally walk with a little more care and caution than they would on normal ground. It was that the tour guide advised the group to walk normally, otherwise the crampons wouldn’t grip the ice and it could be treacherous. 

There are many business and life lessons to be taken from trusting your crampons. The ability to trust your judgment or to trust a process takes the same mindset as trusting your crampons. Sometimes you have to let go and believe that you, your judgment or the process are going to lead to positive outcomes. 

While on the glacier, the group also got to experience naturally occurring ice caves that constantly change with the weather. No two caves are the same, nor will they be the same a few days later. The experience of hiking in these caves was truly immersive, and leads to the question… can manufactured attractions compete with naturally occurring immersive locations. There is no “it makes you FEEL like you are there” vs you ARE there. But maybe “competition” isn’t the goal. Maybe it’s to provide an experience for people that will never go to Iceland, or to explore worlds that are literally only in our minds.

The last lesson has to do with service recovery. In two instances, when faced with a guest service situation that needed to be solved, the people responding to the situation said, “It’s not fair that this happened”. That response was the precursor to taking a human-centered approach to fixing the problem and doing what was right for the situation and the guests. 

If you have been to Iceland, or if you have comments about the lessons we took away from the experience, please let us know. You can email us at attractionpros@gmail.com, or find us any of the socials.

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