The Influence of Theme Park Design on Hospitality

By Scott Acton CEO & Founder, Forte Specialty Contractors | November 19, 2017

With an influx of recent theme park revamps like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy at Disney's California Adventure, Justice League's Battle for Metropolis at Six Flags and many more on the horizon such as Star Wars Land (Disneyland), and Nintendo World or Fast & The Furious (Universal), it's no surprise that theme park designers know what it takes to thrill the general public and play to their fascination with being fascinated.

Theme park designers have known, and implemented for decades, a common strategy to keep the public engaged: this strategy is multi-sensory and experiential design. As a result, there is no better time than the present for us to look at how multi-sensory and experiential design is impacting the hospitality industry and influencing consumer's purchasing decisions. With an ever-increasing craving for experience, it is critical for the hospitality industry to think, build and design with the overall experience in mind.

One of the largest consumer segments driven by experience is the millennial generation -- they are driving what's hot and seeking experiences to define them. Millennials now make up the largest generation in American history, comprising over one fourth of the U.S. population. According to a J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Study, 56 percent of millennials define themselves by their experiences more than other qualities, and 78 percent of them choose to spend money on a desirable experience over buying something tangible.

Forte Specialty Contractors has been at the forefront of multi-sensory and experiential-oriented design through our work in hospitality, restaurant, retail and the nightlife segments. We have quickly learned that a holistic approach - one that goes far beyond the visual design - is critical. This is as simple as understanding the emotion a space evokes based on the acoustics in a room, the feel of a finish, the temperature of the room, the visual clarity of an object. All of these elements factor into the overall guest experience, creating an environment that comes to life. The multi-sensory approach engages all five senses, triggers emotional memories and leaves a lasting impression.

So what key elements are theme parks using to attract and engage consumers that are now influencing hospitality design?

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.