I can remember pretty vividly the first time I hear Tom Leykis talk about the lighting in a particular restroom at a luxury hotel in California making you look better than you ever looked before.
I’ve also seen the way that being whisked behind the heavy doors of a really exclusive resort like the Surf Club in Miami can make you feel like you’ve been let in on a secret.
This feeling plays out in nightclubs, at car dealerships, and in other places all over the world, all day long.
What this does is highlights the trend that people love and desire more exclusive and VIP experiences and that this trend shows no signs of letting up.
How can we take advantage of this? Let’s take a look.
Begin by defining what you want to create:
In working on projects with VIP brands and partners around the world, I recognize one important thing: you have to begin with the end in mind.
This is important no matter what you are creating because this is an important concept that everyone should use.
I use the simple question: “What will success look like?”
When you are thinking about maximizing the impact of a VIP or exclusive offering, you have to begin with that idea in mind.
Maybe you want to create something that only a dozen or a hundred people can experience like the global tours that the Four Seasons has created for their guests.
You might want something a little more open, but still exclusive like the way that American Express offers the Centurion Card to guests that fit a certain profile.
Taking this one step further, you might go the route of the Bonvoy Program from Marriott where you earn your way to more exclusive perks.
The key here is that when you are thinking about what to offer folks, you start by defining success.
Make your offering unique:
One of the challenges that many events and organizations face is that people want a VIP experience and something exclusive, but because everyone is doing something focused on exclusivity and the VIP experience, finding a way to stand out can come with a lot of difficulties.
This doesn’t mean you should give up on doing something unique or exclusive, but it does mean that you are going to have to work even harder to stand out in the world.
How do you achieve this?
Creativity is the first part of the mix.
Use your location by putting your event somewhere special like the Running of the Bulls.
Or, you can use the assets you have available to you like a venue like the Sydney Opera House has done with its props and materials gained from many years of events.
A second piece of the puzzle means you need to limit what you call exclusive or VIP.
One of the challenges that modern buildings may find themselves facing in years to come is that over the years the amounts of exclusive or VIP areas has expanded and without differentiation, they can feel less than exclusive.
This means that it is going to be imperative that everyone involved in the premium and VIP experience work even harder than ever to create something that feels special and exclusive.
This might mean restructuring some areas as is being done at venues around the US. It may be adding value in some way. Or, it could be something entirely different.
The key is to create exclusivity and limitations so that people feel like they are getting something that not everyone can experience.
A third key idea here is to make certain that people can’t get what you are offering everywhere.
This is the challenge that a lot of venues and events deal with all the time because they have to lay out their events, buildings, and stages in a similar fashion or do so because of best practices to the point that everything feels the same. This is where the idea of creativity comes into play and you need to use it effectively.
Constantly innovating the value proposition:
In ways big and small technology has changed our view of the culture we exist in and the way that we interpret premium quality or VIP experiences.
This change in perception requires a constant attention to reinvention and innovation in our offerings.
When I say innovation I don’t want to scare anyone off because innovations don’t have to be huge differences in the way that a business is run or the offer you make to your guests.
Innovation can be much simpler like renewing the space that you use, the food and beverage you serve, the level of service you provide, or the way someone experiences an event.
The challenge here is that you must constantly be on the lookout for ways to renew your experience. As an example, look at the Wynwood Walls in Miami, a great space dedicated to elevating street art. They are often bringing in new artists to refresh the space and create new installations so that the space is always fresh and people get a new experience.
This method plays out regularly with long running hit plays on Broadway and in the West End. Think about how often the lead changes in Chicago. Where a new star comes on board the cast regularly to keep the production fresh, to renew the experience, and to encourage people to come back and see the show again and again.
A final example here comes from the world of luxury and discretion, the Four Seasons has a airline and plans global vacation packages for their guests that they work on for years in advance with unique itineraries and experiences that are limited to a small group of VIP guests, with the exact locations and itinerary never to be repeated.
All of these examples are innovations and they can be replicated by you and your organization within the limits and the market you exist with a little creativity, focus, and thoughtfulness to how you want to create and deliver VIP events and exclusive experiences for your guests.
The only limit is your imagination.
While this may seem risky, the truth is not thinking about ways to offer your guests elevated, exclusive, or VIP experiences is something most organizations and events can’t take a risk on not doing.