Experiences are the new possessions

First published Friday, August 02, 2013

Yesterday evening (Thursday 1st August) I had the pleasure of attending the Pembrokeshire Business Network AGM in the fantastic setting of the St Brides Spa Hotel in Saunderfoot. There were a number of highlights for me – the stunning view, complimented by lovely weather, a great buffet, good company and an interesting and thought provoking speaker (from whom I’ve ‘borrowed’ the title of this blog)

The speaker for the evening was Tim Morgan. “Tim is an internet entrepreneur. He founded Mint Digital, a London and New York based web-technology company whose clients include MTV, Sony Ericsson and Benetton. Tim has been involved in the creation and development of many internet businesses including Picklive (acquired by Sports Millions summer 2012) and Stickygram (acquired last month by Photobox). Tim will talk about innovation, the internet, and what he’s learnt along the way.”

Now of course, Tim’s business is very much in the world of technology, and so much of his talk was around how Mint Digital has developed and the ways of working they have adopted, and there was much in there that made me think about how we work here at Pembrokeshire Tourism, and indeed across the tourism industry as a whole. However, one line really made me stop and think – “experiences are the new possessions”.

Different generations score success in different ways. For some, owning your own home, having a car, having the latest gadget or gizmo is a mark of success, and your success as a person and in life is judged by the quantity and quality of said material items. However as Tim pointed out, thanks to the various forms of social media, and technological advances with smart phones and more, the younger generations of today are more interested in experiences over possessions. Our society is increasingly ‘throw away’ with possessions replaced, upgraded or simply binned far quicker than ever before.

I know what he means. Whilst I do have a certain (relatively small) number of items that I would be anything but keen to part with, a lot of my greatest memories and happy times come from occasions where I am experiencing something – an afternoon on the beach with my family and good friends, a great meal out in a local restaurant, a day of thrill rides in a local theme park…….

Such experiences, in the main, involve input from others – friends, family, businesses, people. We are fortunate to live and work in an area where something as simple as a walk can create an experience for someone that will stay with them for the rest of their life, but we can all do so much more to add to that. Whether we are providing a coffee, a tour of the castle, an adrenalin rush on a roller coaster or explaining why conservation is important, we are all playing a part in creating an experience that will then be taken away by someone else to enjoy over and over again through private recollection or discussion with others.

We are of course able to apply some monetary value to certain experiences whether in the form of an entrance fee or subscription to an ongoing newsletter. What is crucial however, is that what the customer gets is seen by them as value for that money, and a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. Each and every one of us in the county can contribute to that experience, and in doing so quite possibly create our own experience to treasure too.

So the next time you are asked for directions to somewhere, or interacting with your customer over breakfast or dinner, pause for a moment, and ask yourself what you can do to enhance the experience positively for you both. Why not ask the same question of your staff and start a conversation around the theme – it may just provide a new, innovative, way of doing things that has positive impacts on everything from staff morale, to visitor return rates, to the end of year bank balance!

Mint Digital

Pembrokeshire Business Network 

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