Insights

GUEST EXPERIENCE 101 – Part Two: During The Visit

Guest experience 101- how to make the guest experience visit great


  • Three integral steps to Guest Experience – During the Visit:
  • Setting the stage – create the environment for your visitors to be a part of
  • Everyone’s a VIP – make your guests feel important and they’ll invest more into their visit
  • Blend digital and physical – find a way to use digital and physical together

Looking to create guest experiences with the wow factor? You’ve come to the right place… Here at Katapult, we are experts in all things Guest Experience. Whether you’re a new, exciting family entertainment centre (FEC) looking to make your mark, or museum looking to capture hearts and minds with your exhibits… you need a great guest experience, and we can help.

In this series of three blogs, we explore our three key stages for creating a great and memorable experience for your visitors. In part one we talked about how important the Pre-Visit stage is when creating an amazing customer experience.

Today we’re exploring everyone’s favourite stage… during the visit.

Setting the stage

 

One of the key ingredients to creating a memorable customer experience is to craft a carefully themed and curated environment for your visitors. When we talk about theming we talk about creating an environment for an experience to take place. This theming acts in a similar way to how a theatre set provides a world for a play to take place in. Your theme is the central idea that the entire experience can be based around and built upon.

Thomas Land guest experience project at Drayton Manor Park

 

There’s no clearer example of the impact theming can have on an experience, than in amusement parks. Think of Disney’s offerings; they’re the titans of the leisure industry and rightly so. Disney’s entire ethos is to create something special and to bring their movies and characters to life. Walt famously wanted his guests to feel like active participants in the Disney world, not merely passive observers.

Walt Disney - "I don't want the public to see the world the live in while in the park. I want them to feel they're in another world."

 

As a result, every single touch-point is carefully themed to create an immersive world for a guest to enter and leave their worries behind. Walt referred to this as “putting on the show”.

 

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland

(photo credit Unsplash)

But theming is not only for theme parks. Here at Katapult, we believe that the ethos of creating a fully immersive, themed experience, is a fundamental strategy for any guest/visitor based business. Think of Secret Cinema’s completely immersive film screenings, where guests are encouraged to role-play and explore their fantasy environment. Theming even applies to exclusive 5-star dining restaurant. In a Michelin star restaurant every single detail, from the style of the waiter’s attire to the weight of your cutlery, has been carefully chosen to demonstrate the high quality of the dining experience.

 

Themed dining guest experiences

(photo credit Unsplash)

Speaking of details… they may be small, but they can have a huge impact on the quality of a guest’s experience at your venue/attraction. One of the many benefits to Katapult’s Guest Experience Audit is that we often uncover those extra little details that can add an incredible amount of value for your visitors.

It’s easy to overlook these little details, because they’re just that… little… but these small touches can elevate your guest experience to new heights. If you’re a family-friendly entertainment centre, do your stairwells have extra handrails at child height? If you’re holding a pop-up event designed to get people sharing photos on their social feed, do you offer a free wifi hotspot? Are parents looking tired during their family day out? Then be sure to include comfortable rest areas with great coffee and multiple phone charging points. These small elements and themed environments can not only increase guest satisfaction, they can also increase dwell time, increase guest spending and increase repeat visits. There’s no end to the number of considered details you could add to your current guest offering to set yourself apart from your competitors.

Everyone’s a VIP

 

One way to take your customer experience to the next level is to treat every guest as if they’re a VIP. One of the best ways to do this is with outstanding customer service. Great customer service is so important to our attractions, parks and events. It’s the bedrock of the leisure industry. However, there is a growing demand for a personalised, curated, customer service within the leisure industry also known as a customer experience.

We are living in a time when our entire worlds are curated and “one size fits all” solutions are becoming irrelevant. Instead of being slaves to the TV schedule we now choose what we want to watch, and when. Adverts are targeted at us using our data and viewing habits, and our social media feeds are carefully personalised. When we’re used to having this amount of personalisation at our fingertips, it can feel frustrating when our leisure experiences don’t offer the same.

 

(photo credit Unsplash)

Personalisation can be the difference between an average experience and something truly special. A personalised experience can take all shapes and forms. A theme park could provide guests with personal ride recommendations, based on data from their last visit. A museum cafe could know how an annual pass holder takes their coffee. A music festival could provide its visitors with a personalised showtime itinerary, based on their music taste or Spotify playlists. You can even increase your souvenir and merchandise offerings by offering varying degrees of personalisation. Products such as ‘design your own photobook’ have had great success in many venues. These products allow guests to add their own photos to, and choose the order of, pre-designed template pages. This is something that our client Picsolve does very well. By offering the illusion of an incredibly personalised and tailored experience, but within controlled parameters, you can add incredible amounts of value to your customers’ experiences, all while maintaining manageability and control.

There are countless opportunities to create tailored elements in your offerings and it’s the perfect opportunity to not only embrace new technology and data analytics, but also to strengthen your relationship with your guests.

Blend digital and physical experiences

 

By its very nature, technology and innovation are exciting. It can be tempting to add the latest technology to your attraction without considering how it will blend with your current offerings, or how it will bring value to your guests.

We don’t believe in adding digital, just for digital’s sake. Instead, we strongly believe in blending technological advances with fantastic narratives, and immersive theming to create something really special. We believe that technology should be thoughtful, and add value to an experience instead of detracting from it. Incorporating technological advances can be a way to create a truly unique experience for your guests and constantly keep your experience fresh. The leisure industry has always been an early adopter of new technologies. It’s part of the reason why we love working with leisure brands so much.

 

(Photo credit Unsplash)

Theme park rides such as Alton Towers’ Galactica and Thorpe Parks’ Ghost Train utilise cutting edge VR (Virtual Reality) to create a multimedia experience that thrills and excites. Museums are incorporating AR (Augmented Reality) into their displays, allowing people to see their exhibits like never before. Festivals are using high tech wristbands and RFID technology to allow access to additional, personalised content and in some cases even act as a payment system to remove the worry of carrying cash. There’s incredible opportunity to create even more wow moments. And then there are so much more exciting developments on the horizon.

 

Derren Brown Ghost Train at Thorpe Park

(Photo credit & copyright Alton Towers LLC)

In a few years, we could be creating horror themed dark rides that can detect your emotions and monitor your heart rate to tailor the scares directly. We could be shopping in mixed reality, allowing us to digitally try out new styles without having to traipse to the changing rooms. And activities such as arcade gaming could be revolutionised, not only by incorporating VR but by including haptic and sensory feedback to players and allowing fully free movement during play. It’s an incredibly exciting industry to work in.

So there you have it, a glimpse into our during visit process, of course, this is just scratching the surface of our expertise. We have so much more to show you. In the next blog, we’ll be discussing how to keep the magic going for your guests by ensuring you’ve crafted a fantastic post-experience.

 

Of course, in the meantime…we’re always up for a chat. Our Awesome Strategy & Development Director, Kelly, is always on hand to talk through your next project and how we could help you smash your project goals. Just give her a call or drop Kelly an enquiry email. We’re always excited to hear from you.

About the Author: Sarah-Anne is a Designer at Katapult – A Creative England, Top 50 Company that creates physical and digital guest experiences that amaze and engage your visitors.

 

Sarah-Anne
Forteith

Sarah-Anne Forteith is our Concept Artist and Designer. A proud Scot with over 8 years experience as a designer. With Katapult Sarah-Anne has worked with Cartoon Network, Merlin, Adventure Leisure, and was the creative lead on a Derbyshire Wildlife Trust project. Sarah-Anne is a creative to the core, when she’s not at work you’ll find her illustrating, researching, blogging and baking. (Fun fact) Before becoming a designer she was a cake designer.