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Editor's letter
Peak experiences

Attractions have the potential to spark unforgettable, transformational moments in visitors – what can we do to make these more likely?


Peak experiences, as defined by psychologist Abraham Maslow, are rare, exciting, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating moments of wonder and awe. These memorable moments stand out from the everyday – if a visitor has a peak experience in your attraction, they will never forget it. The advantages of providing the right environments to spark these moments are obvious. The question is, how? Are there certain elements that increase the likelihood of such experiences? Is there a science to it all?

Chip and Dan Heath, authors of The Power of Moments, sum up the elements that make moments special – elevation (of the senses), pride, insight (learning something new) and connection. According to the Heath brothers, peak experiences require at least one of the four elements, with the best having all four.

In our feature on peak experiences on page 60, Nathaly Kambakara, associate director at consumer insight consultancy BVA BRDC explains that recent research shows that while visitor attractions are excellent at delivering moments of insight and elevation, they’re not always so good at creating feelings of pride (which comes when visitors feel valued and recognised) and connection.

When it comes to helping visitors feel recognised and part of something bigger, emotion is key. As BRC’s Christian Lachel says: “In crafting unforgettable moments... the industry must evolve to deliver experiences that resonate on a deeper emotional level.”

A sense of connection is vital as well – whether that’s Harry Potter fans finding their community at the Warner Bros Studio Tour or museums connecting deeply with the communities they sit in.

My own peak experience moment came during a visit to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam when I was 14. There, in the place she had hidden for more than two years, I felt something shift. It hit me in a visceral way – this wasn’t some abstract story from history. This was a real girl, like me, who had lived in this actual place. I felt my neck tingling; everything else faded away. That moment will stay with me forever.

You can’t make visitors have a peak experience with you, but you can create the conditions that make it more likely. Then, whether they have a peak experience or just an amazing, memorable time, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Magali Robathan, editor [email protected]

 


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17 Jul 2024 Leisure Management: daily news and jobs
 
 
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SELECTED ISSUE
Attractions Management
2024 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Peak experiences

Editor's letter

Peak experiences


Attractions have the potential to spark unforgettable, transformational moments in visitors – what can we do to make these more likely?

Feeling connected with others can spark peak experiences Photo: disney david roark

Peak experiences, as defined by psychologist Abraham Maslow, are rare, exciting, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating moments of wonder and awe. These memorable moments stand out from the everyday – if a visitor has a peak experience in your attraction, they will never forget it. The advantages of providing the right environments to spark these moments are obvious. The question is, how? Are there certain elements that increase the likelihood of such experiences? Is there a science to it all?

Chip and Dan Heath, authors of The Power of Moments, sum up the elements that make moments special – elevation (of the senses), pride, insight (learning something new) and connection. According to the Heath brothers, peak experiences require at least one of the four elements, with the best having all four.

In our feature on peak experiences on page 60, Nathaly Kambakara, associate director at consumer insight consultancy BVA BRDC explains that recent research shows that while visitor attractions are excellent at delivering moments of insight and elevation, they’re not always so good at creating feelings of pride (which comes when visitors feel valued and recognised) and connection.

When it comes to helping visitors feel recognised and part of something bigger, emotion is key. As BRC’s Christian Lachel says: “In crafting unforgettable moments... the industry must evolve to deliver experiences that resonate on a deeper emotional level.”

A sense of connection is vital as well – whether that’s Harry Potter fans finding their community at the Warner Bros Studio Tour or museums connecting deeply with the communities they sit in.

My own peak experience moment came during a visit to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam when I was 14. There, in the place she had hidden for more than two years, I felt something shift. It hit me in a visceral way – this wasn’t some abstract story from history. This was a real girl, like me, who had lived in this actual place. I felt my neck tingling; everything else faded away. That moment will stay with me forever.

You can’t make visitors have a peak experience with you, but you can create the conditions that make it more likely. Then, whether they have a peak experience or just an amazing, memorable time, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Magali Robathan, editor [email protected]


Originally published in Attractions Management 2024 issue 2

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