How do you “wow” your guests?
One of the biggest advantages of the attractions industry is that your business is designed specifically to make people smile, laugh, and walk away with significant memories that enhance their lives. To achieve these goals, you must regularly focus on innovating new ways that you can exceed your guests’ expectations.
In order to innovate new “wow” moments, we must first quickly review the four elements of what makes up a “wow” moment:
- It goes beyond what the guest expects
- The staff do not need to perform the interaction
- It does not impede on any other guest’s experience
- It costs little (or sometimes nothing) to implement
Now that we know what goes into creating a “wow” moment, let’s review five ways that you can regularly innovate new ways to exceed your guests’ expectations.
Set the baseline for what guests expect
You cannot exceed your guests’ expectations before meeting them first, and meeting expectations requires setting the baseline. All members of staff must be aligned on the importance of meeting expectations and keeping the promises that you’ve made to your guests before you can get creative and “wow” them. Once the baseline is set, you can then look at ways to extend the experience above and beyond what was promised.
Experience your attraction as a guest
When was the last time you put on casual clothes and experienced the entire guest journey from the viewpoint of a guest yourself? Visiting your own attraction can not only help you identify friction points in your operation, but also uncover new ways that you can enhance the experience for your guests. Better yet, bring family or friends and observe how they interact with the experience you’ve created for them.
Set the boundaries, then empower your staff to get creative
Your frontline staff are going to have a unique view of your operation because they are in it day-to-day. Give them the parameters that they need to do their jobs, stress what can’t be compromised, and then turn them loose. The most creative initiatives are often born when the script is eliminated and the process isn’t micromanaged. This requires a great deal of trust, along with contingencies when employees go beyond their boundaries, but it also results in an increased guest experience.
Test and adjust… constantly
Innovation isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it approach, and not every idea is going to be a home run. Embrace failure as you launch creative initiatives on a small scale, gauging the reactions from guests. As long as the parameters are in place and the worst that can happen is a neutral experience (rather than an unhappy or upset guest), testing new “wow” moments should be an ongoing process as you continually seek the next best ways to create an experience that is worth talking about.
Build it into your operation
Once it’s been tested and proved to be a success, create the process around consistency in its delivery. For example, in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, young guests can drive a race car (slowly) as other guests spectate in the grandstands. Sticking to the race car theme, a “wow” moment that has been woven into the operation is allowing guests - often a small child, to wave the checkered flag to start the race. This exciting experience follows all four components that make up a “wow” moment - but Disney takes it to the next level by incorporating it as tasks and duties that staff members are assigned, right up there with sweeping the grandstands, giving a lunch break to a fellow cast member, or refilling the water cooler.
By regularly innovating and implementing new “wow” moments, you will create experiences that regularly exceed guests’ expectations, go beyond what your competitors can provide, grow the lifetime value of your guests by influencing repeat visitation and positive word of mouth.