The experience economy is defined as the idea of providing and offering non-traditional products and services that can create customers’ valuable experiences. The impact of experience economy has shifted toward many industries as majority of millennials, a generation that currently have highest purchasing power, more likely to spend money on a desirable experience over physical things. MICE industry is also affected by this trend as well. Therefore, the focus should be on the customer experience management which experience design will play an important role for successful MICE activities, for example, BlizzCon 2018 provided a community-centered content and offered an exclusive experience for attendees to be the first one to enjoy a variety of new contents such as playing a demo of future game’s expansion.
The progression of economic value
The concepts of experience economy cannot be described without the outlining of the progression of economic value. This principle is based on the fundamental change in process of business offerings to their customer from low-value tangible things to high-value intangible things. At first, society started with the agrarian economy then move to industrial economy, service economy and experience economy. The economic offerings of each stage are commodities, goods, services and experiences respectively. Each stage of economic progression was forced to change by the concept of 1) customization, a differentiation of product to increase its value and be relevant to the need of customer, and 2) commoditization, a product that ends up becoming simple in the eyes of the market or consumers. Currently, the society is in the experience economy stage where services have been commoditized and people demands more sensations. Therefore, businesses have customized their services to be able to attract more customers and keep up with the competition by providing a memorable experience for their customers.
Customers are, nowadays, influenced by the experience that are wrapped around tradition products and services. Especially, millennials, a generation that currently have highest purchasing power, are the main factor that shifts the trend toward experience economy as 78% of them would choose to spend money on a desirable experience over physical things, and 55% said that they are spending more on events and live experience than ever before according to a study from Eventbrite, an event management and ticketing website. There are a few reasons that influence millennials to value more on experience. Firstly, the economic hardship of millennials generation makes them end up poorer than previous generation. As a result, millennials have adapted their perspective to the economic situation by judging the quality of their lives by the quality of experiences which are different from previous generations that judged the quality of their life based on the physical things they own. Secondly, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is a desire to connect with what others are doing. It drives millennials’ needs of experience as they want to keep up to what they have seen on social media. Thirdly, the time poverty issue in modern societies affects millennials behavior to carefully spend their time on what provide them a worthwhile experience. Other than millennials factors, social media is another reason. It can be a personal online journal for everyone to record their stories and share them with their friends. These stories have acted as a stimulation that makes other people crave for equal or better experiences.
Experience design in MICE
Dimensions of the attendee experience
It is essential to understand attendees’ interests and preferences in order to create a satisfying experience in an event. A positive attendee experience can be achieved by considering around 5 dimensions of attendee experience which are psychological, cognitive, emotional, social and environmental.
Best practices to create memorable experience design
In order to provide memorable and frustration-free experience to all attendees, there are several practices that should put into consideration when organizing an event. Firstly, offering VIP and tiered ticket programs. By tailoring price and service of targeted audiences. It is a great way to provide attendees the level of experience they are looking for as well as it can attract a specific niche of attendees who require new level of experience or more personalized experience. Secondly, creating a surprise. It is a powerful way to exceed the attendees’ expectation. The unexpected element can create the last long impression and memorable moment for attendees. Thirdly, utilizing the technology. A proper use of technology can prevent frustrations and create new experiences, for example, event management platform to proceed the event smoothly, mobile application to help attendee navigate the event and AR/VR to create more immersive experience. Lastly, keeping them informed with real-time communication since no one want to be left alone and confused. It is critical to establish channels that are acknowledged by attendees to inform event information such as upcoming session and schedule change.
Case study 1: Google Cloud Summit
Google Cloud Summit 2018 in Sydney was the event that brought together a diverse attendee including customers, partners, influencers and developers in cloud service industry. The event focused on customer centric viewpoint in order to build a greater relationship between customers and developers. The organizer created seamless experience to all attendees by implementing a smart badge. It helped prevent a long line during the check-in process, increase convenience for attendees to access to each session and collect attendee’s engagement throughout the day so that Google and their partners can send the right content to each individual. Moreover, Google Cloud Summit also ensured attendee impression with an excellent quality of cloud-related content and the latest update in cloud-related insight about solution and product that currently available. As a result, the overall event experience was at 93% great to excellent according to post-event survey result.
Case study 2: Content Marketing World
Content Marketing World is held annually in Cleveland, Ohio. The event is a gathering of content marketing professionals which, in 2019, it will feature over 4,000 attendees, 225 expert speakers, and 123 total hours of keynotes, workshops, networking and entertainment. Since it is the world’s largest content marketing event, the expectation from the attendees is very high. Therefore, the organizer plans the event to meet the needs of these attendees by providing the satisfying experience with detailed information that they cannot find it elsewhere, for instance, numerous C-level speakers who will share their experiences and up-to-date marketing content and a wide range of workshops that support audiences from beginner to advance level. Moreover, the event also offers opportunities for attendees to learn and network with the best people from around the world in the content marketing industry.
Case study 3: BlizzCon
BlizzCon is an epic gaming convention that is held in Anaheim, California by Blizzard Entertainment, an American video game developer. Every year, attendees will be overwhelmed with countless of exciting experience during the event as BlizzCon leaves a big impression to attendees with a dose of community-centered content such as cosplay displays, live international gaming competitions and voice actor performance. Furthermore, the event creates an exclusive experience by making attendees to be the first one who witness the newest contents such as observing new product launches, watching upcoming video game cinematic and playing a demo of future game’s expansion.