Road Map to Building Experience
Crafting Authentic Experiences for Today's Projects - Introduction
Apr 13, 2020, 10:04am
Robert Moffat, Principal
Jason Gladding, Principal
Most consumer activity has moved to digital, how then do brick and mortar establishments entice customers to engage in real life? Experiences. The experience economy describes the crafting of unique guest experiences in order to drive revenue. Across multiple markets, urban or suburban, developers and operators are building experiences into their properties. Whether a true theme park, or a resort, destination retail, or an office campus and beyond, consumer tastes and expectations have risen. To capitalize on current demands, each development needs an authentic, engaging, and evolving experience to drive traffic.
The primary impact is made by bespoke experiences tailored to specific guest groups. This begins with understanding the target market and its nuanced tastes. Starting with guest categories is beneficial to capturing larger markets. Experiences then must be programmed out to more specific moments on site. Accounting for age, group size, culture, and physical capability begin to craft the roadmap for meaningful and memorable encounters. Crafting an experience specific for couples needs to be unique from experience geared towards families. The time of day and duration need to vary for each category. Now that a wide variety of experiences is starting to evolve, a matrix is useful visually showing activities by group, time of day and duration.
Effectively customizing unique and authentic experiences begins to create complex and nuanced experiences that are extremely memorable for guests. However, this creates complexity needing careful tending. As resorts, destination retail environments, and other experience centric developments craft memorable experiences, they also benefit from dedicated managers of content. Whether an on-site manager or a creative house, experiences need tending. Furthermore, to maximize the potential of the experience economy, experiences must be curated, updated, and revised regularly. Operators can determine whether the regularity is annual, seasonal, monthly, or even more finite; but guests will return more frequently and stay longer if a new experience is waiting for them.
What is the lifecycle and evolution of the experience? Key questions revolve around the Longevity of Use for the memories made on site. Effective experience design must plan today for use in the future. The components driving the uses pertain to the show vs the facilities, and what is required for each in order to give an authentic experience to guests. The life span for a show may also be very short, whereas the facilities need to last longer due to the cost to replace. Flexibility is key when it comes to the facility use and will it be permanent, temporary, or semi-permanent and how to budget for each. The show and facilities need change-ability, strategy choosing between digital elements vs physical structures. Driving all of this is the technical capability of on-site staff and/or consultants who will implement the execution of the show, as well as it’s evolution over time. The elements must be true to the project’s story and brand, and adjust to the market, whether it changes seasonally, annually, or over the span of years.
Providing an authentic and entertaining experience is fast becoming the norm in all types of projects. The key to successfully implementing is knowing your audience, designing your site to be flexible, scripting an evolving story that changes, and accessing the talent for the design and revision of the experiences. Through these practices resorts, destination retail, office campuses, and beyond will invite repeat visits and elongated stays that will drive revenue, but more importantly, build lasting relationships with guests.