We hear a lot about “the experience economy” these days. The reality is that an economy built on experiences is an over $100 billion dollar a year industry that is growing at a rate faster than the economy as a whole.
As with any growing sector of the economy, where there is spending and attention, there is opportunity and people hustling to gain a share of this opportunity.
Due to the intense competition for people’s experience spending, events and venues are working even harder than ever to create something new and unique to offer consumers.
All of this attention means that customers are demanding more and more from their experiences, even that each of them provide some level of uniqueness.
How are any of us to keep up?
One of the many interesting ways that planners, producers, and business leaders have been able to create unique experiences for customers is by the use of place.
Currently, there is a music festival being planned and brought to life on Miami Beach, to showcase Miami Beach and provide festival goers with an experience none of them have likely ever felt, a music festival on the sands of Miami Beach.
For years, bands and concert goers have viewed visiting Red Rocks as a pinnacle event due to the unique nature of the venue and scenery around the venue.
On top of these examples, we’ve seen promoters and event producers take events to Central Park; the desert has become a village for Burning Man; and, across Europe festivals, concerts, and events are put on in villages, cities, and fields all with unique characteristics.
While the challenge of putting on these kinds of unique experiences can be immense, typically the pay off in attention helps drive sales and earning the event a lot of brand equity through earned media, word of mouth, and social media.
I’m on record saying that customer service is the best form of marketing and many brands have been built on the back of customer service like Disney, Four Seasons, and, even, us, at Booking Protect we look at service as our key differentiator.
For events to compete in the modern economy, it is important that an emphasis on customer service takes center stage. The reasons behind this are many, but I’ll just share 3:
1) Customers have access to social media and bad experiences travel faster than the speed of light now, harming your brand.
2) It really is true that people remember how you make them feel. If you make them feel great, that’s likely to come out in social media, word of mouth, and repeat purchases.
3) Great service will likely add to the experience on-site leading to two positive outcomes: everyone has a better time and the guests spend more money.
Customer service is a key differentiator and the more you promote it as a value of your business, the more likely you become to benefit from it.
Customized and different offerings:
As I’m writing this up, the Washington Nationals are selling a package that includes the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a September Nationals’ game.
I’ve read many reviews of how fans love Alice Cooper’s backstage meet and greets because he works so hard to make every interaction special. I’m no stranger to buying tickets that allow me to customize my purchase to include parking, a drink, or something else all at once.
While you may think this goes hand in hand with wanting unique experiences, it pays to highlight this because allowing customers to customize their experience as part of your regular buying journey can encourage people to purchase and mix and match experiential aspects of your event that you might never have considered valuable or as something to monetize.
As an added bonus, you may find that this exercise enables you to use assets that you never thought to monetize before like when the Red Sox put a bar underneath the stands with a view of the field.
The key in all of these examples is that customers are looking for something that allows them to have a unique experience, and, even better, something that can’t easily be replicated.
This is tough work, but achieving it can pay big dividends.