So, you want to know my six tips for creating experiences…
Hi there, welcome back! During the past six months, I have been writing my thesis to graduate from university. I’ve been doing research about trends and developments in nightlife and designed what a future proof hospitality concept may look like. One of the most important tasks for hotels, bars and restaurants these days is to deliver an exceptional experience to its guests. In this article, I will share with you the results of my research and I will teach you my six tips for creating memorable experiences.
The experience economy
It’s not about the product anymore. Guests partying at a nightclub are not paying those 200 euros for a bottle of Grey Goose because they like the vodka so much. They can buy it at the supermarket for less than half the price. They make it rain because they want to ‘buy’ an Instagram worthy memorable experience where beautiful waitresses walk their way through the venue carrying a big bucket of ice with an even bigger fire sparkling bottle. Off course their goal is to get all the attention from the whole crowd and in particular that special lady who they want to bring home. If that doesn’t work, at least they have cool new content to post on social media.
Apparently, the economic function of businesses has changed and therefore businesses need to change. The entire role where a business has been providing just goods is outdated. Even delivering services is getting outdated. Nowadays the services -which used to be the end product- have turned into commodities. These commoditized services are used to create experiences, which is now the end product.
Creating experiences in your business
This theory where businesses are used as a stage providing sensations leads to a whole new way of operating and designing of business concepts. Now you’re probably asking yourself; How can I implement and create memorable experiences in my service or hospitality related business. To help you out I will share my tips and give you my blueprint for success.
1. Theme the experience
By theming your experience or even your entire business concept, your guests will know what to expect because it’s recognizable and relatable and therefore the experience will stay in their mind for longer. Themed restaurants and bars have a huge advantage because of their design. These companies are a unique selling point in itself and being this distinctive from competitors, higher margins can be achieved because of the uniqueness of the experiences. Guests can only get those by visiting your company. This memorable visit will trigger them to come again. This will definitely grow your chances of returning guests and a steady revenue stream.
2. Impress your guests with positive cues
It is important to distinguish yourself in how you and your staff interact with the guests and the dialogues that you are using. These should be in line with your company’s theme. The end to end experience of someone visiting your restaurant or bar should make sense. This means that companies should think about how they create the experience from start to finish. The experience starts when the first contact with a company is made. All contact points between company and visitor must be correct and thus lead to a positive experience.
This can be done by making use of positive messages in your marketing strategy. Also, you need your employees to give positive cues by welcoming your guests kindly and wishing them a nice evening when they enter your place. When the DJ’s plays recognizable songs during their performances, this creates a response from the guests. In addition, it’s important to be proactive in offering and advising products. Lastly you have to create that wow effect. Each time your guests’ expectations are exceeded, they will remember their visit. If it only just meets their expectations, it’s not exciting because they already expected it to be like that. The experience is only going to be memorable when your guests’ expectations are exceeded through positive cues.
3. Eliminate negative cues
This means that everything that differs from your theme should be eliminated and all possible negative situations should be avoided.
You can prevent negative situations by paying close attention to safety. After all, unsafe situations cause negative memories of the visit and are a killer for your guests’ experiences. To guarantee safety in your bar, you can use plastic glasses that will reduce the possibility of injuries. Another idea is to eliminate negative situations by always keeping behind a couple of entry tickets. Of course, you want your event to sell out, but do you want to reject a big group of friends because one doesn’t have a ticket? I don’t think so. You will miss a lot of revenue from that big group, they go home with a sour aftertaste of your venue and will probably never come back. You can avoid this by saving a dozen of tickets for those last-minute groups. That’s a win-win!
4. Use memorabilia
By collecting your company’s souvenirs, your guests will remember the event they visited for a long time and when they’re back home they even get triggered to come again. Merchandising also provides an extra revenue stream and works great as a marketing tool turning your guests into living billboards. A couple of options to make use of memorabilia are:
- Taking pictures of your guests during events. Your guests love to share your brand all over their social media accounts!
- Selling a line of clothing or caps, turning your company name into a brand.
- Someone is asking you for a pen? Print your company’s name on it and turn it into a business card. No problem that they won’t give it back.
- Bottle openers for your VIP guests also with your company’s name printed on. Yes, they may keep it.
- CDs or Spotify playlists featuring music that’s getting played during your events.
- Goodie bags for your VIP guests including some braded items to give away when they leave.
5. Stimulate all five senses
The sensory stimuli should be in line with the theme of the event. By stimulating a guests’ senses, he or she will remember more of the event.
It’s not a surprise that the music that is being played is the main tool to stimulate hearing. A club or bar should use the best DJs and ensure that the sound quality and technology are optimal. It’s important that a DJ’s skillset and music genre is matched to the theme of the event. Also for restaurants and hotels playing some background music is necessary to create an ambiance or set the tone for the desired mood.
Seeing means all the stimuli that one’s eyes perceive. A great way to stimulate this is making use of special effects such as LED walls, lasers, fireworks and confetti. Also having dancers perform at your venue can create impulses that a visitor sees with his eyes. Another way of using lighting is to highlight special products such as top shelf bottles. The most highlighted spots will attract the guests’ eyes making it a marketing tool.
Research has shown how adding scents in nightclubs affects the experience and how visitors respond to these scents. Three flavors have been used, namely: orange, seawater and peppermint. The study confirmed that the addition of perfumes has positive effects and do improve the nightlife experience. You can add perfume in your company’s air conditioning system to spread a pleasant scent.
The food and beverages on the menu all count as stimulators for tasting. You should ensure this component to be of high quality by evaluating employees on their product knowledge and by making sure there’s taken good care of hygiene.
To stimulate the feeling sense, it’s possible to use moving floor tiles or use a wind blower. This way you can add another dimension to listening to music by synchronizing the movements with the beat of the music.
6. Make the guest participate
My last tip for creating memorable experiences is also one of the most important tips. To create a lively memory of the experience, you should make the guest participate. This way your guest will play the main roll by actively engaging and creating its own experience. They sure will remember their visit forever. In addition to the fact that the guest already participates through physically visiting your venue, there are additional ways to engage and make the guest feel special. You can make your guests participate by inviting them to dance on the bar for example. If your business is about live entertainment, you can ask your guests to come on stage and have them participate in the show. Another way is to invite them to come behind the bar and let them make their own drink or cocktail. Lastly, it’s important for a guest to feel recognized. Your main bartender or host should remember your regulars and welcome them -by name if possible- when they come again.
These were my six tips. Maybe it’s not possible for the type of business you manage to implement all of these elements, but it might be useful to have a look at some of them. You’re probably already using one or another without knowing. Try to use as much of these tips and I’m sure you will create better experiences for your guests that they will remember and ultimately come back for. Because that’s what you should aim for, repeating business to keep your revenue going on.
I hope these tips will help you in your operation and I’d really like to know what you’re doing to create experiences. Please let me know in a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe.