Live experiences and entertainment is constantly evolving along with how attractions want to present it, and how guests want to consume it. It’s exciting, thrilling and magical, and in almost 30 years of being in the industry, the demand around having that human connection at every guest touch point has never been greater.
From immersive theatre, dining experiences, VR encounters through to on-to-one character meet & greets, introducing live elements to your attraction (or even enhancing those that already exist) can be so rewarding both commercially and operationally.
But with so many operational tasks and staff to train, it can be difficult to find time to maximise your existing live experiences offering to drive guest happiness and commercial success too. To help you out, here are three important steps for visitor attractions and resorts to consider before delving straight into the creative ideas.
1 - Why Do You Want Live Experiences Within Your Attraction Or Resort?
As a creator working with family attractions and resorts such as LEGO, Paultons Park, TUI and Disney Cruise Line, understanding the guest has been paramount to delivering the ultimate guest experience. And this doesn’t come from following the latest trends or crazes. The success of any live experience, lies in the hands of using data, statistics and fact finding. This allows you to take a deep dive into what the impact will be to adding or improving your live elements to both the overall guest experience and to you commercially.
For example, at Katapult we offer a unique live experience strategy services that is impartial and it’s created to identify where any potential opportunities are for live content. The report also looks at your existing live content, that may be a little tired or failing to deliver the results you’d like, and it offers you measurable and constructive feedback which is all supported by our insights-driven and evidence-based approach.
So really understanding the wants, needs and interests of your guest demographic and thinking strategically gives you the assurance and confidence to proceed with your live experience overall vision, which essentially allows you to be confident before committing financially.
2 - What Will You Use Your Live Experiences & Entertainment For?
Once you understand why you need live experiences within your attraction, next you want to make sure you’re going to get the maximum impact along with a profitable return on your investment. Whilst entertaining your guests is ultimately the aim, asking yourself what the purpose of introducing live elements will be, can ensure strategically you’re utilising your live elements wisely. For example:
Do you want to increase guest dwell time in one specific area?
Or maybe you need a useful tool for moving guests away from high footfall areas, easing pressure points?
Or is it that you need something that differentiates your attraction from your competitors?
Once you fully understand your guests’ needs, and then you know exactly how you intend to use your live elements, the next part of choosing what type of experience to create should be a much easier task.
3 - What Do You Want Your Live Experiences To Look Like?
Our industry is fun. It’s exciting and it’s a world full of thrills, rollercoasters and magical moments. But it’s also a demanding market with an appetite to create the next best thing. We only need to look at the continued evolution of ‘Disney Live’, where we see how their performances are constantly pushing boundaries.
From the Guardians of the Galaxy immersive ride experience to the magical Animator's Palate dining experience. Disney offers their guests incredible new, never seen anywhere else before, live experiences because this is what ensures their guests have a reason and purpose to return. However, they also set a bar that is so high that perhaps thinking of trying to create something similar could be both costly and even disappointing.
So it's really worth stepping back before deciding what you think you want and asking yourself, what is it you actually need for your attraction to make the difference?
And when your creative team are tempted to create the biggest, the brightest, the most magical thing ever…some things you might want to consider could be:
Will it really make the impact you need to make a difference?
Can you successfully deliver with your current staffing levels?
Can it operate at scale or for multi venues if required?
Do you have the infrastructure to deliver and support it currently?
Is it really right for your guest demographic?
Can it cohesively work with other departments such as F&B?
Do you know the realistic CAPEX and OPEX budgets to ensure your live experiences will have the best opportunity to succeed?
So there are three crucial questions to ask… and that’s even before any creative work has been done.
Live experiences and entertainment can be an absolute winning tool. For both operational pain points and for building commercially into other areas of the business. And once you understand why you need it, and how you will use it and then exactly what is right for your attraction, you can then start maximising your live experiences to drive more commercial success whilst you sit back and enjoy your confident decisions and investment.