As we move from the ‘service economy’ to the ‘experience economy’, Tourism and Hospitality businesses can no longer rely on ‘great service’ as a source of sustainable competitive advantage. Businesses must understand the key fundamentals in creating ‘memorable experiences’ to their customers.
Virgin Galactic, The Burj Al Arab (or Dubai as a whole for that matter), Las Vegas and Macau to name a few, have all found innovative ways of creating ‘experiences’. So how have these businesses been successful? Well after some research I have created 10 rules from creating ‘memorable experiences’:
1. Cooperation is key – in today’s economy businesses should strongly consider cooperation as a form of creating experiences. Hotels, attractions, transport links, restaurants and bars combined into some form of package can create memorable experiences to consumers. In addition this can also give the consumer a perception of ‘value for money’ and reduce the number of transaction costs associated with an ‘experience’. In many cases this exists today, however, businesses should consider this carefully.
2. Keep it current – one word…………..technology! Consumers have considerable power and choice with the internet and access to information. You must take advantage of this and use technology to promote the experience. In many cases businesses can allow the consumer to ‘taste’ the experience before even arriving through video, virtual walk through, pictures and even sounds.. You need to carefully consider the possible uses of technology (including social media) as a vehicle in promoting the experience.
3. Create an ‘experience culture’ – business must promote an ‘experience culture’. Successful delivery of experiences is very much dependant on the culture of your business. Therefore, businesses should ‘win’ over internal customers (your staff) in order to deliver successful experiences. How to do this? Create an ‘experience culture’ and allow your internal customers to experience the experience and most importantly, provide feedback.
4. Have a system for innovation – ideas will always fly around and come from a variety of sources. Make sure you have a system to capture, collate and identify potential winners. Allow your internal customers to generate ideas and reward them for doing so….your next big idea could be hiding somewhere.
5. Training…..and more training – words can not express how important training is in the delivery of an experience. Every business claims to have a great training program but does your training program concentrate on the experience you wish to provide to your customers? Do your staff deliver memorable experiences to your customers? Of course, every business will be different but training should also be focused on the experience. I like to call this ‘experience focused training’, an area which should not be considered lightly.
6. Know your customers – know your different types of customers, know when to change your experience according to their needs, know your internal customers and know anyone that has input into your experience (including your suppliers). All of these groups are important in providing feedback, ideas and innovations to your overall experience.
7. Take advantage of feedback – feedback is absolutely essential in creating and fine tuning memorable experiences. The important point to note here is that feedback comes from your internal and external customers. Businesses must find way to capture feedback from both parties and use it to fine tune experiences.
8. Learn from the best – if a business is getting it right, be sure to find out why. I named a few in the introduction to these rules, which should give you a start. Now, I don’t mean copy everything that business does, but learn what is good and find ways to implement similar ideas into your business.
9. Create a lasting experience – successful experiences last forever! Find methods to creating lasting experiences which people will talk about and tell their friends. This could include something to take away (physical), something to talk (mental) about or something to show. You need to ensure that your customers go away, talk about the experience you offer and return with an army of followers.
10. Break it down – linking a number of rules together is the ability to break the experience down in to sections. Use technology to create a ‘pre experience’, use your internal customers and cooperation in the ‘live experience’ and give your customers something to take away for the ‘post experience’. Bring these three together to form a coherent and powerful experience and watch your customers grow.
Please note: This article is published for information only and any recommendations given are the opinion of the author and therefore, should only be used if the reader feels they are applicable.