Looking at their comments on the web forums, or speaking with them, we can easily understand from our customers that a good part of their feeling about the holiday they had is something that goes beyond the service itself. It’s what we call experience. They are happy when they can go home feeling satisfied and when they bring a memory with themselves.
After our first article about what we mean by “offering experiences”, we would like to go deep into this topic and try to understand how each of the 4 secret ingredients works.
This post is a first step into the Experience Economy Theory, and is supposed to help you understanding this interesting new way of making tourism. Discover how we truly could make a difference, by giving our visitors something really valuable.
Welcome to the Experience Economy
It may seem odd, but experience is something we can stage for our guests.
The marketing gurus Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore developed a model to explain how economy had changed in the year 2000. They introduced a new theme in marketing, saying that the experience was like a product to be sold to the customers to ensure success in the new era of economy.
In their book, Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage, in April 1999 they gave the first description of the “new economy” we are in today, they called it “Experience Economy”, and they explained that it’s the natural evolution after the agrarian economy, the industrial economy, and the recent service economy. That means that consumers don’t need goods or services anymore, they need valuable and memorable experience. They need to feel the atmosphere and the emotions it can give them, as well as memories.
What people are looking for now is experiences to live and to remember. So Pine and Gilmore outlined how the leading organizations can orchestrate memorable events for their customers, memory itself becomes the product to sell. The clue is to charge the customers for the value of the “transformation” that an experience can offer them.
In the tourism field this theory is absolutely treasured, since holidays and travels are the most experience-oriented activities. We normally decide to leave only to try something interesting, amazing or to discover new places and people.
As we mentioned in our previous post Pine and Gilmore have listed 4 ingredients to be used to orchestrate a valuable experience: entertainment, education, escape and aesthetic.
Our guests need to be amused!
To think about something to entertain our guests is both the easiest and the trickiest part of orchestrating a holiday experience.
Here are some chosen entertainment activities you can offer to your guests in Tuscany.
We know that experience is something abstract, strictly connected to emotions, feelings and sensations.
Whether you decide to perform a typical music concert or to bring your guest to a panoramic walk through the Maremma hills during a full moon night, your aim should be to touch the emotions.
Do you think it is easy? Well, it can be, but we must not be too ordinary.
Something different, entertainment
Entertainment can mean many different things, in general we can consider all the activities that engage the customers in a passive way, as watching a movie, listening to a music concert, enjoying a dance show or listening to a story teller.
But it isn’t enough, we have to think about something original. We want to amuse our guests, but we also have to offer them something different from the others, something which is worth paying for.
We have mentioned how we could bring our guests for a panoramic walk, or to perform a show for them, but let’s see exactly what they really need to be entertained.
Entertainment is for Pine and Gilmore the most passive of the 4 type of experience, that means that we should only have our guests’ attention.
A good way orchestrate an entertainment experience is through music, which in Tuscany is synonym of Torre del Lago. Every year in summer this place turns into an open air theater where people from all over the world come to enjoy the Puccini Festival. Why don’t you organize a trip to the lake and offer your guest a discounted ticket for the festival? A part from the opera, during the festival there are many collateral events in this area, dedicated to the music lovers, but also to everybody who wants to discover a different side of the Tuscany we normally know.
Taking your guests to this kind of events can be a good entertaining experience, since they will be passively engaged. They only will need to be there and to enjoy the performance we metaphorically offer them.
Another very famous event in Tuscany is the Siena Palio, which every year attracts thousands of visitors on July 2 and August 16. Book a reserved place for your guests and tell them the story of the “contrade”, while waiting for the race.
Pick up yours
Among the infinite number of activities we can chose, we have to focus on the ones that are good for our place. Let’s start from the emotions!
A clue could be to make a list of impressions you wish your participants take away once they leave. Forget the activities themselves and try to think more generally to some different themes and story lines that can be connected with your hotel place or your family history and try to pass them on to your guests through the activities you can organize for them.
For example, if your family activity has traditionally been to harvest grape and to make wine, you could tell your guests your story, building an environment which is coherent to this theme. Organize for them wine tasting, sommelier’s workshops and open air activities through the vineyards. If you live near a famous place as it could be Torre del Lago, focus on it and try to communicate it to your guests by offering themed activities.
The most important clue, to offer entertainment experience is to be natural and to think with your guest’s mind: when you have an idea, think if you were happy to pay for such an experience or not. That’s what makes the difference!