Seth Godin has a great bit of insight at the end of a post today about how smart companies separate pleasure and pain.
He cites Disney as a good example:
Disney charges a fortune for the theme park, but they do it a week before you get there, or at a booth far far away from the rides. By the time you get to the rides, you’re over it. The pain isn’t associated with the fun part.
And airlines as a bad example:
Airlines, on the other hand, surround the very thing they sell (getting you home) with armed guards, untrained TSA agents, long lines and sneering gate agents eager to take your money when you have absolutely no expectation or choice and when your stress is at its highest. This is a problem in the long run.
Obviously some of the security measures are out of the airlines’ control, but the insight is still a great one. It’s similar to the best advice I’ve heard on PR: Blast the bad news out quickly (to get it out of the way) and trickle the good news out slowly (to keep in the way).