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“There it is.”
Your brother, Tim, says as he points to the beautifully designed piece of architecture in the distance.
You turn quickly and pause. You are speechless. You have never seen a racecourse like this before in your life.
“I knew it would be cool, but wow,” you say. “This is unreal.”
As a kid, Tim was obsessed with architecture. His fascination followed him into adulthood, and now he is a world-class stadium architect. So, naturally he likes taking you around the world to check out the newest ‘innovations.’
Your father is a retired stadium general manager, and you are a stadium manager. The apples did not fall far from the tree.
Today, Tim has taken you to the Ascot Racecourse in the United Kingdom to see their newly designed grandstand and to check out a race.
You cannot ever get away from work but were able to break away for the weekend. Your wife took the kids to Busch Gardens with her sister. Everyone is happy.
As you make your way to the racecourse, Tim tells you about how Ascot’s design focuses on the spectator.
The parade ring is on the town side to give racegoers total control over their experience during the event. From weigh-in to the historical pageantry of horse racing, every aspect was designed for a memorable experience.
Your only response is, “Wow.” So far, that is all you have been able to come up since you first set eyes on the architecture. You are at a loss for words.
However, your experience does not turn out the way you expected it.
Walking into the grandstand, you miss the spilled beverage below you. You slip. “No,” you scream as you reach for your brother to hold you up. Tim does not see you.
You fall and hit your elbow on the concrete.
Peering through the crowd, your brother yells for help. “We need Medical here,” he shouts. Everyone looks but, during this moment, it seems that everyone is only watching.
Seven minutes later, and what feels like a lifetime to anyone lying on a floor, the racecourse medics finally arrive.
You look at your brother and say,” All the innovative design in the world won’t make up for this…”
This is not how memories are created, right? You would never want someone at your property to experience this incident.
Of course, this is only a dramatization. We are sure Ascot Racecourse has a superior operation in place. We hope this would never happen.
However, how would you feel if it did? This is the question you need to ask yourself because it is possible.
In Paul Henry’s recent Populous article “Innovation – pushing the boundaries of stadia design for even better fan experience” he discusses how innovative design is a must-have for new and future stadiums.
The venue experience will always surpass sitting at home on your couch. Whether guests agree depends on a property’s ability to entice spectators to swap the remote for a ticket.
According to Henry’s article, “Innovation is a buzz word often used by businesses to sell their latest wares or services, or by politicians trying to rally support for a somewhat intangible idea. Over time ‘innovation’ has described everything from developments in space exploration, to ground-breaking techniques for healing the environment, or human body. Recent years have seen communication advances so extraordinary, that it’s little wonder the word innovation, for many, conjures visions of complicated, high-tech devices.”
He continues to explain how “Innovation drives us from the first moment we contemplate a project. It’s at the core of our design approach, and all of our processes. The result is tangible in the physical spaces we help to create.”
However, the following point captured our attention as we could not agree more with, but would also like to expand on, “For sports architects innovative thinking is always about doing everything possible to connect fans with their teams, and their sporting heroes. Today’s fans want to get closer to the action. They want to make connections. They want to ‘experience’ rather than just ‘see’.”
Yes, we could not agree with this statement more. Guests do want to ‘experience’ rather than ‘see.’
However, as you encountered at the beginning of our article, all the design in the world cannot make up for a ghastly experience.
The guest experience does not stop at design.
You must infuse ‘design’ with Proactive Operations. This collaboration of visual and operational innovation results in the memories that your guests desire.
Read our article “Proactive Operations: How to Use Strategy, Infrastructure & Technology” to learn, in detail, what it takes to be proactive.
For today, we will use our example above to give you the perspective you need.
Consider this. You make your way to Ascot Racecourse.
This time, the racecourse employs Proactive Operations. Your outcome is different.
Strategy, infrastructure, and technology ‘push’ the operation, which leads to a favorable experience.
The lady in front of you dropped her beverage before anyone is aware to clean it up. You slip on the wet spill.
However, this time, your experience is different.
Your brother sees the racecourses signage for text communication. He sends a text message with your location and the details to the command center.
Simultaneously, there is a nearby usher with an incident management mobile app. She comes to your aid. With a couple of pushes on her mobile device, she submits an incident to the incident management system.
She can take a picture of your injury for the medical team. Now, they will already know what to expect once they arrive on the scene.
Ascot’s command center dispatcher notifies need-to-know personnel within seconds as they respond to your brother’s initial text message.
A couple of minutes later, you hear your brother shout. “That was fast,” he exclaims. The medical team is already running to your aid.
Terry, the supervising medic received the incident details, inclusive of the photo of your injury, and gets to work.
Within five minutes, including the time it took Medical to arrive on scene – you are already bandaged.
“Thank you. You guys are impressive,” you say to Terry. He grins, and after asking you for some information is on his way.
Do you see the difference here?
Design and Proactive Operations are the only things that lead to memories.
They also result in peace of mind. Who would not want that memory?
You can have the best property architecturally. However, it will only take your guest experience so far.
To create lifetime memories that keep your visitors coming back – you need to push the boundaries of your operation. You need design and Proactive Operations.
This is the ‘experience’ your guests need.