Sawbones is a podcast about medical history. The co-hosts, Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin, take listeners through the history of patent medicines, the days before surgery and germ theory, the age of “heroic medicine,” and all the other fun ways people have been wrong about science over the ages.
One of my favorite recurring bits is how they reference treatments that claim to cure almost anything: “Cure-alls cure nothing.”
That is, if something claims to do everything, it’s more likely it does nothing at all than actually help you.
Which is the first thing that pops into my head when a destination or resort tells me they “have it all.” Do you? Do you really? Have it all? Or do you have a bunch of things, none of which are very good?
We all know the first sign of a bad restaurant — a menu that’s much too long and spans more than one cuisine. We all know that this typically means the chef doesn’t do anything particularly well.
But we’re supposed to believe that a resort that “has it all” does everything well?
The even bigger problem is just how many resorts say this. In 20 minutes of Googling I was able to find what feels like an infinite list of resorts making this claim.
Here’s just a small sampling:
“We have it all, just waiting for you.”
“From great fishing opportunities to fantastic amenities, we have it all.”
“A self-indulging spa vacation, even a business retreat, we have it all, in one all-inclusive package.”
“From sunken islands to rock reefs and points, we have it all.”
“We have it all except for you!”
“Whatever you want, we have it all.”
“Whether you want to take a nice leisurely walk or climb some of the steepest mountains, we have it all.”
…and it goes on and on like that.
Am I saying that these are bad resorts? Of course not. They might all be spectacular in their own ways. But they way they’ve written about themselves sends the wrong message.
If you want people to believe you have everything, prove to them you have one thing.
Hemingway was famous for his ‘iceberg theory’:
“Hemingway said that only the tip of the iceberg showed in fiction—your reader will see only what is above the water—but the knowledge that you have about your character that never makes it into the story acts as the bulk of the iceberg. And that is what gives your story weight and gravitas.” - Wikipedia
Cure-alls cure nothing. Tell-alls tell nothing.
Instead, focus. Show that you know one or two things. Tell us what makes you different. Because, as we can see, having everything isn’t unique at all. In fact, almost everyone says they have that.
Take a stand. Say that you have the best outdoor pool, and mean it. Talk about your rooms having better views than anywhere else. Give an example of a time your staff went out of their way to help a guest.
Just don’t do all of them. Don’t do everything. Because then we won’t believe any of it.
Because, as we all know, if everyone’s super, no one is.