WHAT IS THE GUEST EXPERIENCE JOURNEY?
We consumers are increasingly choosing event-based opportunities based on the quality of the experiences they have. Audiences expect to be surprised, delighted, and impressed – not just with your ability to pull off a polished and smooth-running event, but an event that offers something unlike anything they’ve experienced before.
That’s not so easy.
Often, gatherings of every size look and feel more or less like the other gatherings that the audience has already been to. Adding in a yoga teacher, a zen lounge with VR, great A/V or impressive speakers doesn’t make a great event.
So, how do you make your event something different without stressing your team and breaking the bank?
A great place to start is the Guest Experience Journey.
ABOUT THE GUEST EXPERIENCE JOURNEY
The Guest Experience Journey is a holistic and guest-centered view of the experience you are creating. It puts you in their shoes – so instead of following the cookie cutter formula of what everyone else has done, you create a curated experience using event planning best practices, creative solutions and human psychology.
To create a Guest Experience Journey, you’ll use information gathered from your previous events, guest feedback, and guest reviews, and map it onto your event’s touchpoints. From there, each touchpoint is delved into to mine the experience, the expectations and the actual outcomes. When you dig down and clarify like this before planning begins, event teams are able to make decisions faster, become more efficient and craft the kind of experience you’d actually want to attend.
This translates into increased guest engagement, brand loyalty and – directly or indirectly – money in the bank.
WHAT ARE TOUCHPOINTS?
Often it can be obvious: The first time a guest receives an email or invitation from you, the ticket purchasing or registration experience, first arrival onsite, the first speaker to welcome the guests, etc.
Other times it’s more subtle: The transportation or parking experience to get to your event, the building’s entrance, a scheduled break in programming.
HOW TO DO YOUR OWN GUEST EXPERIENCE JOURNEY MAP
Decide how granular you want to get. I suggest starting with the bigger, more obvious touchpoints and, if you have time and resources, keep digging down. The more you can imagine the moment-to-moment guest experience, the more you invite creativity and innovation into your planning.
Write out each touchpoint across the top of a sheet of paper, making a column for each. You might need to use a whiteboard or several pieces of paper if you’re planning a conference or multi-day event.
At each touchpoint, consider the feedback you’ve received or observations you’ve made during past events. If this is the first time to convene this group, you can either leave this blank or write down what you think guests might experience. Put your answers in the corresponding column.
Beneath the first set of answers, write down the most ideal outcome for each touchpoint – how you want the guests to experience each interaction. What is their most ideal response?
Review the completed timeline with your team. Notice what you’re already doing well and where you can add more creativity or better planning.
The goal is to create a seamless flow of well-crafted moments that elevate the guest experience, from first invitation to your post-event thank you message.
Building the Guest Experience Map gives you invaluable knowledge and power to create something truly exceptional, while also empowering your team to more creativity, collaboration and excitement for the event.
If you would like support in mapping out your guests’ experience, get in contact to set up a free 20 min initial consultation.