Experience economy
Joe Pine

Experience platforms are one of the biggest growth opportunities in today’s experience economy, says author and thought leader Joe Pine. He explains how to approach them


Platforms – places where buyers and sellers come together to exchange money for offerings – are not a new phenomenon, at least not in the physical world. Commodities have been sold in farmers markets forever.

High streets and shopping centres have long provided platforms for tangible goods, while malls were more a place for services, such as shoe repair and dry cleaners.

Disneyland is itself a platform, bringing together numerous experiences in one place for guests to enjoy and remember (even if an operational platform, rather than one with offerings from many different suppliers.)

Digital technology has amped up the power and network effects of such transactional platforms, enabling millions and potentially billions of buyers to connect with a boundless number of sellers. Amazon and eBay were early pioneers of goods platforms on the Internet, while Royal FloraHolland switched its commodity flower auctions to digital decades ago. Digital service platforms proliferate across most industries, from Uber to Fiverr to Grubhub, Bumble, Venmo and on and on the list grows. 

And, increasingly, digital platforms offer experiences. Think of Airbnb, which originally sold access to a sofa, a room, a house, but in 2016 created Airbnb Experiences to enable those staying in Airbnb host properties to connect with local experience stagers, particularly those that made guests feel like a local in their visited locale.

Think of the value unleashed – consumers gained easier access to a better overarching experience; local experience stagers gained easier access to a set of consumers eager to experience the locale; and Airbnb got a piece of every transaction.

When the pandemic hit and the platform pivoted to digital experiences, this enabled Airbnb to continue garnering income, while saving many companies that would have gone under without visitors, and saving the sanity of many consumers. 

Operational Experience Platforms
Earlier I described Disneyland as a physical operational platform because it wasn’t multisided like all of the rest above: The Walt Disney Company is not the only experience stager with offerings in the space. It also was one of the first to offer a digital operational platform with its MyMagic+ system in 2013, enabling visitors to connect to, buy, and operate experiences (as well as many services on which the experiences were built, such as park admission and hotel room entry). Guests particularly interacted with it through the IoT device the company created, MagicBand. 

John Padgett, one of the original five members on the project, eventually left for Carnival Corp. where at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2017 he and CEO Arnold Donald announced the Ocean Medallion. This operational experience platform set a new bar for its incredible degree of customisation, enabling every crew member to greet and interact with every guest by name and act on their preferences.

The platform creates a mass customised itinerary for each guest and party and as it learns more – creating what Carnival calls a “guest genome” – it can send out personal experience invitations to enhance itineraries. The Ocean Medallion can even learn things such as when a guest is on the pool deck with his kids his favorite drink is iced tea with no lemon; in the bar with his buddies it’s a mojito; and in the restaurant with his spouse it’s a glass of Shiraz. 

Find your role to play in experience platforms
Many companies, such as Briq Bookings, accesso, and Holovis are now providing experience platforms that attractions can customise and deploy to their own operations. Every theme park, amusement, family entertainment centre, or attraction of any significant size should be looking at how it can embrace such platforms to enhance and customise operations to each individual guest. 

Don’t neglect your presence on the multisided transactional platforms such as Airbnb, Amazon Explore, Red Balloon and Virgin Experience Days – on and on that list goes. (I think there is at least one operating in nearly every country in the world.) They can be great ways to be discovered and booked by consumers, both local and global.

And despite the tremendous growth in all these kinds of platforms, there’s room for many more. The Experience Economy is set to grow tremendously, for the one thing we learned for sure from the pandemic is that, at least in the developed world, we don’t need more stuff. What gives life meaning is the shared experiences we have with our family, our loved ones, our friends, our colleagues, and even with complete strangers. 

Experience platforms can connect us to these meaningful experiences, and power, enhance, and customise them to our individual wants, needs, and desires.

More: www.attractionsmanagement.com/joepine

Disney’s MagicBand+ debuts this year at Walt Disney World Credit: Disneyland Resort
Disney’s MagicBand+ debuts this year at Walt Disney World Credit: Disney
Carnival’s Ocean Medallion experience platform “set a new bar for its incredible degree of customisation,” says Pine Credit: Carnival Corporation
Credit: Carnival Corporation
De Kartfabrique in the Netherlands uses Briq Bookings to customise its offer Credit: Courtesy of De Kartfabrique Utrecht
Credit: Courtesy of De Kartfabrique Utrecht
 


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Attractions Management
Issue 1 Volume 27

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Leisure Management - Joe Pine

Experience economy

Joe Pine


Experience platforms are one of the biggest growth opportunities in today’s experience economy, says author and thought leader Joe Pine. He explains how to approach them

Pine co-authored The Experience Economy with James Gilmore Rod Evans
Disney’s MagicBand+ debuts this year at Walt Disney World Disneyland Resort
Disney’s MagicBand+ debuts this year at Walt Disney World Disney
Carnival’s Ocean Medallion experience platform “set a new bar for its incredible degree of customisation,” says Pine Carnival Corporation
Carnival Corporation
De Kartfabrique in the Netherlands uses Briq Bookings to customise its offer Courtesy of De Kartfabrique Utrecht
Courtesy of De Kartfabrique Utrecht

Platforms – places where buyers and sellers come together to exchange money for offerings – are not a new phenomenon, at least not in the physical world. Commodities have been sold in farmers markets forever.

High streets and shopping centres have long provided platforms for tangible goods, while malls were more a place for services, such as shoe repair and dry cleaners.

Disneyland is itself a platform, bringing together numerous experiences in one place for guests to enjoy and remember (even if an operational platform, rather than one with offerings from many different suppliers.)

Digital technology has amped up the power and network effects of such transactional platforms, enabling millions and potentially billions of buyers to connect with a boundless number of sellers. Amazon and eBay were early pioneers of goods platforms on the Internet, while Royal FloraHolland switched its commodity flower auctions to digital decades ago. Digital service platforms proliferate across most industries, from Uber to Fiverr to Grubhub, Bumble, Venmo and on and on the list grows. 

And, increasingly, digital platforms offer experiences. Think of Airbnb, which originally sold access to a sofa, a room, a house, but in 2016 created Airbnb Experiences to enable those staying in Airbnb host properties to connect with local experience stagers, particularly those that made guests feel like a local in their visited locale.

Think of the value unleashed – consumers gained easier access to a better overarching experience; local experience stagers gained easier access to a set of consumers eager to experience the locale; and Airbnb got a piece of every transaction.

When the pandemic hit and the platform pivoted to digital experiences, this enabled Airbnb to continue garnering income, while saving many companies that would have gone under without visitors, and saving the sanity of many consumers. 

Operational Experience Platforms
Earlier I described Disneyland as a physical operational platform because it wasn’t multisided like all of the rest above: The Walt Disney Company is not the only experience stager with offerings in the space. It also was one of the first to offer a digital operational platform with its MyMagic+ system in 2013, enabling visitors to connect to, buy, and operate experiences (as well as many services on which the experiences were built, such as park admission and hotel room entry). Guests particularly interacted with it through the IoT device the company created, MagicBand. 

John Padgett, one of the original five members on the project, eventually left for Carnival Corp. where at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2017 he and CEO Arnold Donald announced the Ocean Medallion. This operational experience platform set a new bar for its incredible degree of customisation, enabling every crew member to greet and interact with every guest by name and act on their preferences.

The platform creates a mass customised itinerary for each guest and party and as it learns more – creating what Carnival calls a “guest genome” – it can send out personal experience invitations to enhance itineraries. The Ocean Medallion can even learn things such as when a guest is on the pool deck with his kids his favorite drink is iced tea with no lemon; in the bar with his buddies it’s a mojito; and in the restaurant with his spouse it’s a glass of Shiraz. 

Find your role to play in experience platforms
Many companies, such as Briq Bookings, accesso, and Holovis are now providing experience platforms that attractions can customise and deploy to their own operations. Every theme park, amusement, family entertainment centre, or attraction of any significant size should be looking at how it can embrace such platforms to enhance and customise operations to each individual guest. 

Don’t neglect your presence on the multisided transactional platforms such as Airbnb, Amazon Explore, Red Balloon and Virgin Experience Days – on and on that list goes. (I think there is at least one operating in nearly every country in the world.) They can be great ways to be discovered and booked by consumers, both local and global.

And despite the tremendous growth in all these kinds of platforms, there’s room for many more. The Experience Economy is set to grow tremendously, for the one thing we learned for sure from the pandemic is that, at least in the developed world, we don’t need more stuff. What gives life meaning is the shared experiences we have with our family, our loved ones, our friends, our colleagues, and even with complete strangers. 

Experience platforms can connect us to these meaningful experiences, and power, enhance, and customise them to our individual wants, needs, and desires.

More: www.attractionsmanagement.com/joepine


Originally published in Attractions Management Issue 1 Volume 27

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