Just had to write the following for school (I'm working on my MBA). Thought you guys might get a kick out of it, or that it might be food for thought/debate.
Case 2-2, Question #1 (Chapter 2, Page 63): Is Disney’s level of emphasis on anticipating the behavior of its guests appropriate, or does the company expend too much effort in this area? Explain your answer.
It is extremely appropriate. In line with Joseph M. Juran’s perspective on the need for planning and for quality as a differentiator, Disney’s resorts, from their inception, have been strategically positioned as providing exceptional service. As other competitors (e.g. theme parks, hotels, resorts) have learned from and adapted to the Disney model, it is imperative for Disney to continue to provide a vacation experience that transcends all others.
Part of the strategic theory behind the Disney approach is immersion - for example, the pine needles imported to DisneyWorld’s Wilderness Lodge. Walt Disney, inspired by his frustration over the cheap carnivals to which he had taken his daughters, wanted to create a location (e.g. California’s Disneyland) that the whole family could enjoy and which would bear no reminders of the outside world, its cares, or its concerns. Consequently, the expectation has been set for 50+ years that the Disney vacation experience will be unlike any other – how much of this branding will be reality and how much will be hyperbole depends entirely on the emphasis Disney places on anticipating guest behavior.
Consequently, Disney’s dominance of the travel market (both domestically and internationally) and its ability to charge higher prices depend in great part on anticipating and accommodating guest behaviors, desires, and needs. The investment of time and research into guest behavior pays off directly in terms of branding and market share.