The One Word That Changed The Way I See Business
Every single interview subject mentioned a first and most important step.
I heard about NuMundo in an unusual way.
I was working on my dissertation about Transformational Travel, and someone mentioned the name. Soon after, I was conducting an interview with a member of the NuMundo team and talking at length about the themes of my research.
My decision to work on a dissertation about Transformational Travel also came about in an unusual way. Two years ago, after a lengthy career in hospitality Revenue Management, I started my MBA.
I had a list of potential topics for my dissertation, but they all sounded boring and common. I wasn’t worried, though. I had time to think while I was taking my classes. One day, however, it was time to start, and… I still had no idea what I wanted to spend the next six months researching.
Two months later, still clueless, I received the third message from the Dean asking when I was planning to start. I realized I was approaching the project from the wrong angle. So I went back to the basics and asked myself what my expectations were. It wasn’t about grades or the prospect of a career. I already had one. It was about working on something meaningful and fun.
A few days later, I heard of Transformational Travel for the first time. It ticked every box. I wanted to understand the tourism business from a wider perspective (check!) I was also very aware of the impact tourism has, how it can be a factor for economic development but can cause irreversible damage to the environment and society if not done right (check!). I also reflected on the future of travel and how it can make a positive impact on our lifestyles (check!). And I could relate much of my experience as a world traveler.
I gave it a go, without knowing what I would discover.
And to my surprise, I heard about a concept that changed the way I see business: Intention.
To clarify, the purpose of my dissertation was not to study the characteristics of Transformational Travel, but to find out how a travel company can facilitate and enhance transformation for its guests. I interviewed people who run successful businesses by providing transformative experiences.
Transformation is a very personal process and cannot be guaranteed; however, there are a few things a location or experience provider can do. They can ensure an optimal physical environment and train staff to understand the processes that the guests are experiencing. They can provide learning and growing activities that participants won’t find at home. These are just a few examples, and I am sure you can relate them to your experiences through NuMundo.
Now, the curious thing is that every single interview subject mentioned a first and most important step. This is a step that you cannot see, but that influences your entire travel experience. This step is intention — the sincere willingness to transform (as a participant) or support a person to transform (as an experience host).
Intention is not a new concept, and travel is one of many applications. It was only after I set a clear intention for my dissertation that I was able to move forward. Some common pre-trip intentions might include, “I want to figure out what to do with my life,” or, “I want to relax, disconnect and recharge.”
However, this was the first time I heard about the importance of intention in business. Working in hospitality for the last 20 years, I have heard many times about the importance of taking care of the customer, showing the guest you care, et cetera, et cetera. I have seen countless training programs try to instill these concepts in the working culture, to varied results. To be honest, I was never fully convinced.
It was only after researching Transformational Travel that I understood what was missing: setting the right intentions to begin with.
The goal behind these trainings was to have high customer satisfaction to ensure guest loyalty and financial success. Nothing wrong with that, except that it is a business goal — and not an intention.
What would be the result if we asked every hotel employee to set sincere intentions around providing a safe and nurturing space for a person who is away from home and, only then, provide tools to help them achieve it?
Perhaps there would be a positive impact on each guest’s life, which would in turn have a positive impact on employee satisfaction. Expand that to a group of people having a positive impact, and you soon get a healthier, happier society. And you reach your financial goals as well.
It is so simple and powerful that I am surprised I haven’t heard it before.
By embarking on this project, I received a more powerful lesson than I could have imagined: setting intentions in business is as important as setting intentions in life. Companies that integrate this practice into their culture will have a more positive impact in the world.
About the Author
Andrea Martin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she lived until she was 24 years old. From there she undertook an adventure and lived in eight countries. This adventure brought her, without really intending to, to Miami in 2013. Against all odds, she loves it. A passionate hospitality professional, she travels and writes as a way to experience a more profound and compassionate understanding of the world.
Editor: Toby Israel