The paper presents and discusses the results of an exploratory, empirical study, which intended to explore links between holiday experiences and the assessment of the tourism offering. Focusing on evaluation as perceived by customers, the author argues for the acknowledgement of their notion of the ‘holiday product.’ Consequently, the central theme of the study is the holiday visitor’s narrated experience. It was found that prevalent assessment frameworks were inconsistent with the way visitors described their own holiday evaluation. Instead of a component-based judgement process, visitors seem to evaluate holidays against vague holiday ideals. Based on this finding, an alternative role and assessment model of service providers is proposed.