Blog/ Marketing

The Surprising Truth About Value Perception

If you were to ask all of your guests about the value of their experience, who is most likely to say that your prices are too high and that you’re not worth it?  On the flip side, who is most likely to praise the value of their experience, saying that the price was worth every penny?

Naturally, the most common theory would be that guests who had a superior experience are more likely to praise value and guests who were dissatisfied tend to question the price that they paid.  This tends to be true in most cases, and it suggests that the service you provide and the experience that you deliver are critically important to how guests perceive the value of the money they spent to visit you.

But we can go deeper, and learn more about the characteristics of guests on either end of the spectrum.  To do this, take a look at the following excerpts taken TripAdvisor reviews from an aquarium in the United States:


We were there for about two hours and could have seen everything in about thirty minutes. Definitely not worth the hundreds of dollars we spent for admission. Way too expensive for what you get.


I went here as an adult without kids to check it out. I've been to several aquariums over the years... and this is by far the most expensive one I've been too. Was it worth it, I would say not. The highlight for me was the... sharks - those are very cool and have not seen those before. Other than that, the Tropical section was mediocre at best, the Arctic was better. Between the admission price and parking it was almost $50. We didn't even spend 2 hours there - there wasn't enough to see.


The tickets were a bit expensive, but I thought it would be worth the cost. Boy was I wrong. I ended up seeing the WHOLE aquarium in less than a half hour, what a waste of time.


Notice any similarities here?  In each review, the guest indicated that they purchased nothing more than the basic admission, or the most economical package, and therefore spent the least amount of money to participate.  And the dissatisfaction that they had during their visit led to them saying that the experience was not worth the money.


Here’s another set of reviews.  Take a look at what these guests had to say:


Professional videographer shoots high quality video during the dive which is available for an added cost, but worth it in my opinion. Great memories, and something I'll never forget.


We did the penguin encounter, and felt it was worth the extra fee.


The perfect family place for ALL ages. We had 4 adults, 1 teen, 2 pre-teens and a 5 year old strolling leisurely throughout the aquarium taking in all of the amazing exhibits. We were able to see every major show including the shark feeding, penguin march, leisure lunch, snack and one paid tour. We paid an extra $15 per person for the Behind the Seas tour - totally worth it!


Don’t you love the tone of these reviews so much more?  These guests all praised the value of their experience, and the common theme is that they spent more than the basic offering.  While there are certainly plenty of guests who perceive a high value with standard admission, and the occasional guest who does not get their money’s worth after spending more, there is significant data that indicates a stronger correlation with value perception for those who opt for more premium options, and a close relationship with price sensitivity to those who spent the lease.  From annual passes to VIP tours and enhanced offerings, the guests who spent the most money had the best time.


That’s an opportunity worth diving into head first.



Your favorite phrase from your guests should be “It was expensive, but it was worth it.”  When your guests react this way, you’ve met the perfect equilibrium point of price and value.  With the amount of challenges facing operators today that include attracting guests to visit and struggling to increase per capita spending, it can be helpful to know that your most premium options can make a significant difference, as long as they are created with the guest in mind and communicated effectively.


Once your premium options are in place, you can forget upselling, and rely on your guest experience to grow your revenue.


Note: slight modifications were made to the text presented from online reviews to protect anonymity of the venue