What is a phygital experience?
It is the combination of physical experience and digital guest engagement. It changes the traditional way of marketing to a more integrated approach that exists effortlessly to create a connection between your brand and the guest across the two worlds.
Expectations of guests are becoming more and more demanding, time is precious, guests are more sophisticated and they expect to be able to have the option to complete a transaction or perform a task through both digital or physical interactions. Guests are completely comfortable with digital technology, from facebook to fitbits, brands and consumers can be constantly be connected.
Every interaction your guest has with your staff, your website and your bricks and mortar, feeds into their overall experience and their overall impression of your attraction. The better that experience is, the more likely they will stay longer, come back again and tell all their friends.
By collecting all these positive interactions through the whole customer journey it will ultimately improve your bottom line and stand you out from the crowd.
GUEST EXPERIENCE BEGINS WELL BEFORE THEY WALK THROUGH THE GATES
I know this is obvious but it isn’t just about using filters to refine their search by location and price points even though these do help!
The guest goes through a thought process and yes it starts with a search phrase but that is only the entrance to the rabbit hole – if they find you on the first page they need to be routed immediately to the information they are looking for i.e. your owned, paid or earned media – you need to own the pre-booking experience at the first click.Disney magical express
So the next step is to move guests from click to the physical experience – digital must enhance physical engagement to create the phygital experience. A great example of this is Disney’s Magical Express Luggage Tag service, after making your reservation your luggage tags are mailed out to you prior to your arrival, you attach these to your luggage and it is then delivered to your Disney Resort hotel room, so immediately after stepping off the plane it is a hassle free experience and still before they arrive through the gates!
SO WHAT DO GUESTS WANT FROM A PHYGITAL EXPERIENCE?
Guests want choice, whether that be digital or physical! They want to be able to select their preferred channel be it when looking at their devices or walking through the gates. They want to complete a transaction smoothly and enable traditional physical engagement with apps, websites and ticket purchase etc but still have the option to pick up the phone or be greeted at a desk – this creates the phygital experience.
WHICH CHANNELS ARE IMPORTANT?
Ask your guests! Guest feedback – it’s that simple! What can we do that would make your stay more delightful? When you have a clear strong answer and the technology is available, find the solution. And you don’t always have to carry out surveys or questionnaires – their behaviour will tell you.
You have a website because people showed they wanted to find out about you before booking tickets and making choices, next you needed a mobile website because more and more people are accessing sites through mobile devices – behaviours change and therefore the channels you use need to as well.
HOW DO YOU BRING DIGITAL AND PHYSICAL TOGETHER?
How do guests typically book? When do they book? What are their preferences? You have to understand how they choose between digital and physical channels.
Make it easy for guests to book tickets, reserve seats, create an account – look for easy touchpoints and find out how they want information to be sent and create the right touchpoints for engagement.
Create and define features that enable those touchpoints – how can they view their booking, make a purchase? Can they select preferences and make changes easily? And just as important can your employees see how guests use the features, your employees must be able to see your digital channels in order to delight your guests.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
There are many phygital technology driven devices that guests can interact with from QR Codes, augmented reality to google glass and so on.
A great example is in South Korea where consumers can order their shopping whilst standing on a subway platform via an interactive display wall. Shoppers scan the QR code of the product, the item is added to a shopping cart and once paid shoppers will find the groceries delivered on their doorstep.
Tesco’s Homeplus pioneered this virtual shopping experience and saw an increase of 76% in online shoppers and 135% in online sales.
It all comes down to ensuring you have the right tools to create the strongest phygital experience. You need analytics, campaign management and targeting tools to uncover digital behaviours. This will assist in selecting the right channels to deliver your messaging and engagement in order to create a digital experience that will enhance the physical one.