The Amazing Opportunities of The Experience Economy

Welcome to the experience economy! In short, we will feature some incredible insights from the book The Experience Economy: Competing For Customer Time, Attention, and Money by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore.

Time, Attention, and Money

Time is limited. We all have only 24 hours in a day. Services are about time well saved, while experiences are about time well spent.

Attention is scarce. So many things vie for the attention of customers. People are looking for experiences worthy of attention.

Money is consumable. What customers spend with some other company, means they have less to spend on your business.

"Time is the currency of experiences. If you get customers to spend more time with your business then they will spend more time on your offerings."

The Ocean Medallion Program

The Experience Economy book discusses Carnival's Ocean Medallion Program. Prior to the cruise, passengers upload their passport information and set some preferences to get "Ocean Ready." After that, Carnival mails them small smart devices called "Ocean Medallions" which get ride of long lines during the boarding process. Crew members verify their Ocean Ready status through tablets activated by the Medallions that display each person's name and picture.

The Ocean Medallion functions in the following capacities:

  • Opens guests' stateroom doors (and each room digitally greets them)
  • Allows guests to pay for items in shops without cash, credit card, or ID
  • Tracks individual itineraries through an Ocean Compass app (accessible in a variety of ways including smartphone and tablet)
  • Triggers "personal experience invitations" to customize cruise experiences
  • Customizes for unique occasions for each customer (including drink preferences in various locations on board)

The Experience Economy

Companies that offer many kinds of experiences, more easily differentiate themselves from their competition. As a result, they can charge a premium price based on the distinctive value provided. For example, the book lists cooking classes, wellness spas, and other indulgent experiences. Depending upon the space available, some hospitality providers can offer these options on site.

Four Realms of Experiences

According to the authors, the most robust experiences are those that draw richly from each of the following four realms. It is in the sweet spot that an experience best engages us and focuses our attention on its transforming nature.

The authors challenge readers, when designing their experience, to consider incorporating all four realms of experiences. Moreover, they also suggest the following questions:

Entertainment: experiences that entertain; the experiences can alter our view of the world

  • What entertainment would help your guests "to enjoy" the experience better?
  • How can you make the time more fun?
  • How can you make the time more enjoyable?

Educational: actively engages the mind (for intellectual education) or the body (for physical training); the experiences can make us rethink how we fit into our world

  • How can we get full participation of the learner?
  • What do you want your guests "to learn" from the experience?
  • What interaction or activities will help engage them in exploration?

Escapist: guests immersed in the experience as actively involved participants; the experiences can boost our personal capabilities and characteristics to new levels

  • Once your guests are there, what should they do?
  • How can they become active participants in the experience?
  • What would cause them "to go" from one sense of reality to another?

Esthetic: every experience created is real, whether natural or artificial; the experiences can imbue a sense of wonder, beauty, and appreciation

  • What can be done to enhance the esthetic value of the experience?
  • How can you make your guests want to come and hang out?
  • What can you do to make the environment more inviting and comfortable?

In Conclusion

How can you participate more in this experience economy? You're welcome to contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free 20-minute phone consultation.

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography


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About the author 

Kristi Dement

Tapping into her love of hospitality & accommodations, as well as her talent for marketing, Kristi started Bed and Breakfast Blogging in November of 2013. She loves helping owners of B&B inns & other properties become more effective with their marketing. She is a member of the Association of Lodging Professionals. 

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