Gaming a perfect holiday


I have an irritating habit of trying to plan other people’s summer holidays for them. I particularly love it if they have an impossible budget and they are trying to get away in the school holidays plus they have left it until the last minute.

This challenge is very like running transformation projects in local govt. We need to be (and can be) much more thifty because we don’t have luxury high end budgets. We need to ‘cut our cloth’ accordingly. We need to have passion, initiative and energy. As much passion and be as resourceful as if you were creating a personalised holiday. 
Like the holiday industry there is no correlation between cost, quality and user experience. 

What would you estimate the cost of an exclusive 10 day break in the Italian Lakes would be for a family of 4? Cheek by jowl with George Clooney? 

Here is a worked example of the thrifty   approach: 

Criteria: Exclusive and personalised – we are the only family having this holiday. Lake swimming and sailing, cycling, mountain hiking, cheap fine dining and wine. Something for all the family.

Keep away from Lake Garda or Como ( high end prices) head for a smaller lake – say Lake Iseo – less than an hour’s drive from Milan – cheapest place in Europe to fly £300 for family of 4 return.

Accomodation: family run hotel on lake front (see-above). Apartments have kitchens for flexibility. 

Lots of free value added that you would not get with a package: free bikes from the hotel, local boat trips stop outside, rather than just a room you get a whole apartment. All for £55 a night. 

Whole family £850 for 10 days. 

Exclusive travel agent offers you £2,300 per person in Lake Como= £9,200. More than 10 times the price. 
For me this is very like running an IT project – who says it needs to cost the earth, take forever and that you need to employ armies of high cost IT contractors? And that the end result will be more perfectly tailored to customer needs? 

With the right 

  • buy in/ 
  • engagement/
  •  leadership /
  •  trust 

and the willingness to take risks (nb  not with user experience) it can be done in half the time  and for a tenth of the cost. 

The main thing is finding the right staff and sponsor who will help snow plough the blockages out of the way. You only need a couple of experienced senior project staff – but they have to be great coaches. The rest have to be bright, quick learners and everyone on the team has to trust and respect each other and be active listeners – bring all their ideas and experiences to work with them. 

This would be the difference if there were more women in IT.

I’m thinking the next time I recruit for mindset – the technical test will be to book an exclusive lakes and mountains holiday for a family of 4 in school holidays. See who is most resourceful. 

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