The tourism industry is currently going through a major shift as businesses strive to create experiences, rather than simply providing quality services. The reason behind this is simple: tourists are looking to gain lasting memories from their travels, and experiences are just more likely to satisfy this need. Interested in learning how to create great tourism experiences? Here are five characteristics that your business should be emulating:
Globally Unique: Great tourism experiences are globally unique. When designing your tourism experience, consider what makes your geographic location special, and incorporate that into the experience. For example, tourism experiences on the coast should embrace their unique location by incorporating the ocean and coastal culture into the theme or activity.
Personalizable: Creating an experience that meets each individual customer’s wants, needs, and/or desires is a great way to show that your company is willing to go the extra mile to ensure a great experience for each individual. For example, a guiding company can personalize their experience by offering outings that serve people of different experience levels and by allowing customers to choose between different trip lengths, group sizes, and activities.
Interactive: Great tourism experiences get the customer involved and actively learning. When creating your experience, think about fun and engaging ways that the customer can get involved. This is particularly helpful advice for turning products into experiences – you can build an experience by getting your customer actively involved in the process of creating a new product.
Involves All Five Senses: Get the customer immersed in the experience by involving all five senses. This makes the experience more engaging for the customer and can help make the experience feel even more authentic. For example, although a spa’s main service deals with touch, a spa can involve the other four services by designing a visually calming environment, playing relaxing music, employing aromatherapy, and offering water and nutritious health foods after treatments.
Memorable: Most importantly, the experience should be memorable. Customers should leave the experience with memories that will last a lifetime. For the most part, businesses can make their experiences memorable by focusing on what makes them unique and exciting, and by striving to meet and exceed the customer’s expectation. Businesses can also help customers literally take home memories by allowing customers to purchase souvenirs and photographs from their experience.
In a recent article, SAM Magazine reports that KSL Capital Partners and Aspen SkiCo will be acquiring Deer Valley Resort, a purchase that continues a recent pattern of “ski resort ownership consolidation” (SAM Magazine). The article goes on to say that, “In just the last six months, the yet-to-be-named joint venture has combined Intrawest, Mammoth Resorts, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and Aspen Ski Company” (SAM Magazine). And with the recent purchase of Deer Valley, the buying spree doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Previously, Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass was an unrivaled pass option for skiers who wanted to visit and ski at a variety of amazing resorts. But with KSL/SkiCo’s recent acquisitions, the joint-venture is shaping up to be Vail’s biggest competitor in the super-pass market. Although KSL/SkiCo hasn’t released any mega-passes yet for this season, it is certainly a major possibility for next winter.
As with many of these recent purchases, there are some concerns that KSL/SkiCo’s acquisition will result in major changes for Deer Valley, which has been privately owned since the resort opened in 1981 (McCombs). Hopefully, most of these concerns are unwarranted. This is supported in a statement by David Perry, president and COO of the joint venture, saying, “We look forward to working with the staff and Park City community to carry on the traditions that make [Deer Valley] so special” (SAM Magazine).
Running a mountain is an expensive business. The cost of replacing a lift can be in the millions, and even replacing a T-Bar can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. For small mountains that often charge very little for lift tickets, this cost can make operations difficult. However, big resorts have helped make this cost easier to manage. For example, at Titcomb, Sunday River has stepped in and helped cover some costs when Titcomb could not afford them. Sunday River has also donated money so that students at the University of Maine at Farmington can ski at Titcomb for free.
Resorts like Sunday River do this because they recognize the importance of small mountains. Small mountains help grow the sport. The easier, shorter trails and often less-crowded terrain can be much less intimidating to beginners. Local hills also tend to offer prices that make skiing much more affordable, which is important since most beginners are tentative to invest a large amount of money into a sport they’ve never done before. Additionally, small mountains provide a local option for skiers when no large resorts exist nearby.
Larger resorts feel comfortable supporting local hills because their target markets are usually very different. Whereas smaller mountains tend to target beginners, the local community, and customers with a smaller skiing budget, big resorts target customers who are willing to spend more money (often on longer vacations, rather than day visits) in return for diverse and more challenging terrain options and great service. Basically, resorts and local hills aren’t competing with each other. However, local hills can generate more business for resorts. As beginner skiers at small mountains improve, they may look to ski at places where they can challenge themselves more.
And when skiers look for that bigger mountain, where better for them to go than the resort that supported their local hill?