Thursday, February 28, 2008

The experience economy capitalizing on aviation

Nearly a decade ago a new service concept, the experience economy, was coined by Pine and Gilmore (click here for the book). The gist of this concept is that service firms benefit by creating memorable experiences for customers, in other words mass customization. The notion is that this helps firms in distinguishing themselves from the competition and creates a potentially inimitable trait. This is an important feature in aviation as research has shown that airlines are quick to copy each other and through the creation of (positive) experiences passengers are more likely to view an airline's product (time in a seat) as differentiated rather than a commodity.

However, this post is not aimed at airlines specifically but rather at how other industries, some not even directly related, are using the experience of aviation to differentiate themselves. Neyes, a Danish bag shop, has recently installed in its store on Strøget (the walking street) an overhead compartment, a baggage carousel, and a baggage trolley for customers who wish to test-drive their suitcases, travel bags, and trolleys. This move gave the store a Retail Design Award, but also gives its customers a distinct shopping experience. Who won't forget buying their black travel bag at Neyes when they could feel the ergonomics of putting it in the overhead bin? I hope they have some sacks of sand handy so I can simulate lifting the bag in real life. We might as well stay in Copenhagen as a new nightclub is opening, Night Flight, which will bring guests to a new destination every Saturday night. Staff will wear flight attendant uniforms and serve drinks from trolleys. Great incorporation of an aviation experience into a night club. This is ideal because the club is able to change the theme regularly, the danger of incorporating experiences into a service is the inability to change it before it becomes dull and "old news".

So, if you're in Copenhagen one weekend why not stop by Neyes and try out and buy a new suitcase at Neyes before stopping by Night Flight. If you really want to create a true aviation experience you can sit next to a screaming kid for a few hours to make it more realistic. Enjoy.

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