Imagine a person who is at H&M. A person who is looking for a knitted sweater. In the store, the clothes hang neatly lined up on hangers where the customer has the opportunity to both see, touch and test the clothes. Yes, the person can even smell the shirt that they are now taking with them to the fitting room. After testing the knitted top, the person decides – the sweater must be taken home. The customer pays for himself, receives the item of clothing in a paper bag and then leaves the store.

Does it work like this when you sell events and experiences? Hardly. When you sell experiences – a few nights at a resort, a seat in the stands at a football game or a theater ticket – there are a number of challenges. Do you know what the challenges are? And do you turn them into opportunities?

1. The customer doesn't buy a physical product

Challenge: An experience is not a physical product that the customer can feel and squeeze – it's not a knitted sweater from Åhléns. Rather, an experience is a service, an expectation, an image of something.

Opportunity: Within the experience industry there are very good conditions and a great engagement among customers. They are football fans, more than excited for the next game. They have a special interest in music and long to root for their favorite artist at the next concert. Or they are enjoyers of life who are just waiting for the right spa offer to come along. In other words, it's easier to stand cut through the noise in an industry where customer expectations are high. Make sure to tap into these expectations and keep customers warm through relevant content.

You sell an experience – not a physical product.

2. Different times of purchase & consumption

Challenge: The customer books the visit at one point, but consumes the experience later. The period between purchase and consumption can include a few days but also several months.

Opportunity: As your guest buys the experience at one point in time, but consumes it at another point in time, there is an exciting window of opportunities between the two points in time. From that moment your customer buys a ticket or makes a reservation, you should talk to and help the guest feel good before the day of arrival. Communication can take place in several different channels and involve both information and additional sales. You should also take the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with the customer before arrival. Automations are perfect for this type of communication!

From the time the customer books a visit to the time the experience takes place, there are many opportunities to communicate with the customer.

3. Changes to the booking may occur

Challenge: A reservation can be changed several times before it's consumed. Options can be removed and added, and both rebookings and cancellations can happen.

Opportunity: It's of course difficult to predict possible illnesses and changes that may affect the booking. But, the most important thing to prevent cancellations is that you work on customer loyalty. That you continuously talk to the customer and build up those expectations. When the customer has bought tickets or booked a stay with you, you make sure you have a plan for how the communication with the customer should look like. What do you tell the customer 100, 70 and 30 days before arrival? What information does the guest need? What extras can you recommend that will make the experience extra memorable? Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Set up a communication plan that prevents cancellations from being made and that further builds up the customer's expectations.

4. Purchase & reality can give different impressions

Challenge: The experience of what you sell can differ between purchase and reality. If the website, social channels and the description of the event or hotel say one thing, but the reality is another, you risk having dissatisfied customers.

Opportunity: Reality must agree with what you portray in your communication, because you don't want disappointed customers, do you? Here you can use images and videos that really show what the visitors can expect. Reviews and information about everything from parking to restaurant selection are also good material, which also give the customers more concrete facts to base their opinion on. And, if it's the case that renovations or remodeling will affect the customer's visit, you should without a doubt inform them of this. Try to give as fair a picture of your experience as possible.

What expectations do you sell?

5. Technical limitations prevent potential customers from booking

Challenge: As the title says, there may be technical limitations that prevent potential customers from ever completing a booking or ticket purchase. Some sites, for example, cannot give out discount codes to get the customer to sign up for newsletters. Or it could be your website that is not user-friendly enough.

Opportunity: The easiest solution is of course to buy that system or pay for that supplier to fix the technical limitation. But, at the same time, it's important to start from the customer's perspective. Is it really a discount code that will make the customer convert? How can the website be simplified if it is not user-friendly enough? First consider whether there is any technical limitation with you. Then brainstorm possible solutions, where you put the customer at the center.

A customer data platform collects all your data in one place.

6. Scattered data makes it difficult to analyze

Challenge: With selling experiences, data comes in a lot of different places. You need to keep track of data from ticketing systems, booking systems, social media and restaurant sales, to name a few data sources. The data management gets easily tangled, and is therefore not managed correctly.

Opportunity: If you have data in many different places, an industry-specific customer data platform that collects all data in one and the same system is your solution. You need a system that automatically retrieves the data, keeps it up-to-date and visualizes it for easier analyses. With such a system, you also get the opportunity to segment your customers, create relevant communication and target your marketing. Data driven is the way!

"It's really a strength to have analytics, segments and automations in the same tool. We get a good overview and can work smartly with our entire customer database – all in the same tool."

Christine “Titte” Carlsson

Market Analyst, GöteborgsOperan

MarketHype

What challenges do you have?

Do you recognize yourself in any of the challenges listed above? Or are you struggling with something completely different? We have customers who want to fill the occupancy earlier, to target the Facebook ads better and to sell more tickets on weekdays.

With MarketHype you collect all customer data from your ticket or booking system. The data is retrieved, cleaned, verified and updated automatically – all the time, in one and the same platform. In addition, there is a direct connection between the customer data, your own segments and several different channels, which makes it very easy to direct your communication. Data driven marketing has never been this easy!

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