A Farmer, Three Pigs, a Pick-up, and Your Hotel
By Bonnie Knutson Professor, The School of Hospitality Business/MSU | February 02, 2014
There is a story about a farmer who wanted to breed his three female pigs. He loaded the sows into the back of his pickup truck and took them to visit several boars at a nearby farm. While the pigs were getting acquainted, the first farmer asked the second, "How will I know if my pigs are pregnant?"
"That's easy," said the second farmer. "They wallow in the grass when it takes and they wallow in the mud when it doesn't."
When the farmer looked out the window the next morning, he saw his pigs wallowing in the mud. So he loaded them into the truck and took them back to the boars. But the following morning, the pigs were still wallowing in the mud. Undaunted, the farmer again loaded the pigs into the truck and drove them back to the boars for a third time, hoping for positive results.
Now it happened that the farmer had to be away from the farm overnight. As soon as he awoke the next morning, he anxiously phoned his wife and asked, "Are the pigs wallowing in the grass or in the mud?"
"Neither," replied the farmer's wife. "Two of them are in the back of the pickup, and the third one is up front blowing the horn!"
Out of this story come two lessons that psychologists and parents of toddlers learned long ago, and hotel marketers are now learning. First, every behavior has consequences. The female pigs visited the boars (behavior) and like it (consequences). Second, future behavior is a result of the consequences of past behavior. If the consequences are rewarding, chances are the behavior will be repeated. If they are not, chances are the behavior won't be repeated. In the pigs' story, the sows' visit to the boars was very rewarding so they were anxious to repeat it.