Standing Out

Barcelona Bus Turistic (Image)
Barcelona City Tour (Image)

Can you see the difference between these two city tour bus services?  They have the same price structure, run the same routes (in different directions), make the same stops, supply the same audio options, provide the same hop-on-off service, and each has an automatic canopy to cover the top deck when it rains.  Which one would you choose?

I would suggest this is a classic example where people matter.  When I rode one of these lines, the greeter was inattentive about our request for ear buds, the driver stopped twice for a smoke break, and we were all told to disembark at 8:00 PM, apparently closing time.  Maybe both services hire from the exact same group of candidates.  But I would argue that these individuals are clearly fluent in at least four languages and skilled providing customer service (or avoiding it).  In a country where unemployment is reaching 20% a job is not easy to find.  If one of these bus services created a culture of fun, empowerment, and appreciation for its team members it would swamp the other with the limiting factor being the number of seat available.  People matter.  These two bus services have proved that it is easy to copy features but more difficult to foster a community.

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