Virtual Experience Economy: 6 trends shaping the digital landscape in 2021

You might think that our industry is only about selling and buying tickets; well, that is actually the least interesting part of it. The experience economy is all about the emotions and experiences we make visitors remember, and you, are responsible for that. It is your job to make sure you are present at every single touchpoint of the customer journey, from the awareness stage at the very beginning, until customers are back home after their visit.

And where does the experience start? I guess that by now you might have heard the answer from us a few times but let me say it once again just in case; the customer experience starts at home.  This means you have to be very sure that you are adapting your experiences accordingly - offline & online. Today, we have a huge variety of solutions and technologies at our disposal, which enable you to better connect with your target market and optimize your digital processes and strategies.

As this is a fast-changing environment and we want to keep you updated with the trends that are shaping the digital landscape this year so that you can take action and improve the digital experience too. Keep reading to find out!


1. Predictive analytics

Data is one of the most valuable assets that businesses have nowadays, and especially now that we are online, predictive data analytics models can help businesses attract, nurture, and retain their most valued customers online. Besides generating future insights, forecast trends and behaviours with significant accuracy, predictive analytics will help you proactively approach customers whenever there is an opportunity or a risk (a risk of leaving for instance) and therefore take action in time and boost your online sales.

By using data, you can get a better understanding of who your customers are and therefore take your customer experience to the next level, which will drive your venue’s long-term success. What’s their favourite ride? What are the tickets they love buying the most? What’s their wish-list and purchase history? Do they come in groups, in couples, with friends, or with family? Which payment method is their favourite? You can indeed predict and anticipate many of those needs and preferences and therefore provide seamless experiences and turn them into your most loyal customers. Consider that you will need a solution that gives actionable and processed insights, especially if you are not a data expert! Look for a platform that can provide reports to keep you up to date on your business’ growth.


2. Service design

Service Design is a human-centred approach that focuses on customer experience and the quality of the service as the key value for success, which usually involves multiple channels, contexts, and products.

Good service is not just a matter of chance; it is something that can be designed, by adopting a customer-centric approach and understanding what the customer needs are and ensuring that every point where they make contact with the service provider creates a positive outcome in their mind.

It is crucial for venues to create a seamless flow for the customer journey so that it allows users to transition smoothly between devices during the different customer journey stages. With multiple companies operating in the online scope, and especially now that due to the pandemic we all had to go online, service design has as strong a role to play in the success or failure of the digital journey of your business too.


Digital service design incorporates many disciplines that you can improve or optimize such as web design, information architecture, user experience and content strategy, but the actual challenge for your venue is to strategically think and design how to merge both the online and offline experiences to create the simplest transition between both of them. 

One of the best examples to illustrate this is Disney, who starts your initial experience with a beautiful mobile-responsive website. Once in the venue, you can use their mobile app to locate the attractions you want to see, as well as view the estimated wait time for each of them, order food and more. Well, you can do the same! With Tap, you can get your venue to easily create your own, fully customized, app environment allowing you to offer a seamless mobile experience for guests before, during, and after their visit.


3. Conversational marketing

Conversational marketing is a customer-centric and dialogue-driven approach to marketing. It has become the go-to strategy for driving customer engagement, improving the digital customer experience, and growing revenue. The key in conversational marketing is assessing and understanding what your customers’ preferred digital channels are and adjusting your tone of voice accordingly.

Live chat, chatbots, and messaging apps are used to enable these personalised conversations. Although chatbots are the tool that has made conversational marketing more accessible, any form of two-way communication, like phone and email, can be part of a conversational marketing strategy.

Conversational marketing works by attracting new customers, and more specifically in lead generation. This customer-centric approach assists customers to find the information they are looking for much quicker and it allows you to shorten the sales cycle and move your online leads through the buyer journey and virtual experience.

Think about how useful it could be to provide live assistance to your visitors when they are making their ticket purchases online; what if they do not find the expiration date of the tickets or they cannot add another ticket to their chart? Well, conversational marketing is the perfect tool for assisting them and avoiding any complaints or cart abandonment. But conversational marketing goes way beyond just assisting the purchasing process. Think about in-venue notifications via in-app messaging asking your visitors if they are up for lunch yet or informing them about which ride is the least busy at the moment to reroute their journey through your venue and make the best of their experience.


4. Voice commerce

Voice commerce is the ability to purchase things online using just your voice and a compatible smart device, such as your phone, tablet, or smart speaker (connected to the internet). Did you know that according to EMarketer forecasts that the number of people using smart speakers in the US grew from 16 million in 2016 to 76.5 million by 2020?

Just like you check the weather with Siri, you can browse an online store’s entire website, ask questions, get product ratings, check their availability and pricing, and place your order. The aim of the experience is to make customers feel that they are being guided by a sales assistant during their purchase journey.

Some retailers like Best Buy have already created their own Alexa skills that allow customers to make orders via their Alexa-enabled voice assistants. Imagine how useful it would be if your visitors could purchase tickets for your venue just by saying “Hey Siri, buy 3 tickets in my favourite venue” and they right away have 3 tickets for your venue without lifting a finger.


5. Data usage & transparency

According to the Internet Society and Consumers International, 69% of consumers are concerned about how personal data is collected in mobile apps. In fact, most organisations today, from social platforms and financial institutions to major retailers, have access to consumer data.

Due to the increase of online usage, consumers are becoming more aware of how companies are using their data, and most of them give huge importance to the usage that businesses can give to their personal information. That is why for any company that collects data, transparency is more important than ever. How can your venue ensure a good usage of data?

Besides following the regulations of your country, there are some basic practices that you can also apply such as asking for permission before collecting it (it is already mandatory in many cases), being honest and transparent about how you will be using the data, storing, keeping it responsibly and letting customers know about the precautions our organisations are taking to protect their information.

For instance, this is how we keep Convious' customer data safe.

6. Balance humanity and automation

There is no doubt that technology has enabled businesses to provide rich and personalized customer experiences but still, there is a big part of customers who prefer human interaction. As we have mentioned chatbots earlier, let me tell you that just 63% of consumers are satisfied with service from a chatbot, assuming they can request a human customer service rep if needed.

Chatbots are indeed a very effective technology to execute low-level, repetitive tasks, but ineffective to deliver customer support with empathy and emotional intelligence. In this type of instance, a blended approach that involves some automation and some human interaction will tend to offer the right balance.

Our industry is all about emotion, creating memories and providing seamless and unforgettable experiences, and those factors involve the purest form of humanity. For this reason, you need to make sure you find the right balance between the technologies you are providing your customers with and the human and emotional side of the experience. So, even if you use chatbots or other technologies, make sure you involve your visitors in  memorable human interaction.

Girl in theme park

While we are going through times of change and uncertainty,  it is actually a good time to rethink your customer journey and about how to expand the   laughter and excitement of your experience across all the various and crucial  touch-points. Remember that technology is a powerful ally to stay top of mind of your customers.

At Convious we are absolutely obsessed with helping our leisure partners grow and succeed in bringing greater experiences to their visitors so we are always ready to plan a call with you and figure out the solutions that fit your specific case the best.


Talk to the team