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Trends you can’t ignore in experience industry in 2018

Experience centre has not only added value and profit for various retail brands, but it has also created convenience for consumers. How will 2018 be for such centres? Let’s find out.

By Ekta Sharma Feature Writer

With the rise in number of e-commerce brands, the experience industry has risen even more. Customers have a varied choice now. They can touch, feel and experience the product and service before finalising their choice and also go online for a relaxed choice too. Every year new trends come and go. Every brand wants to give the best experience to its patrons. So, we tell you what trends to watch for in 2018 in the experience industry..

2017 has been a real significant year in the development of the experience industry. Be it Salons, fashion brands, hospitality sector or any other space, experiences are what matters the most. Leaders in the brands are doing their best each year to stay relevant and competitive. Brands keep a close eye on what’s trending around them.

Last year, every brand had a story to tell and experiences to sell which overall helped them in creating a unique image and brand positioning within the industry. The hospitality sector is dynamic by nature and this implies to the nature of the competition as well which is constantly evolving both horizontally and vertically. Factors like cross-vertical entities entering into the hospitality sector have come with newer challenges. This necessitates the hospitality players/brands to constantly evolve. One such key evolution is the emergence and growth of ‘experience industry’, where hospitality players are offering guests ‘experiences’ and not simply ‘services’. 

The brands have turned to enhancing customer experience in order to differentiate themselves from the rest.  The experience industry today, particularly in the hospitality industry, is thriving on out-of-the-box ideas to offer customers a unique comfort zone along with best of the best service for a better brand connect and continuing customer loyalty. A key role in the building brand connect is played by the ‘memories’ which these ‘experiences’ help create. These memories last for a lifetime and their remembrance always renews the bond of the brand with the guest. The trend, given its current growth rate, will only grow further in 2018. Telling us more on the same, Dilpreet Singh Bindra, General Manager, JW Marriott Chandigarh says: ‘Personalisation is one of the key trends for 2018. Customers have constant exposure to newer ideas and concepts which fuels their desire for unique experiences. This has opened new doors for the hospitality sector as the focus is now to elevate the product or service to match the distinct desires of the patrons. While a special personalised service is just part of an entire experience, the focus of industry will further be on making sure that all products and services come together in a seamless sequence right from the beginning to the end and even after. In case of a property, starting from the entrance, the ambience, aesthetics and the offerings and service by its staff, all contribute to giving the customer a fulfilling and flawless experience.’

A-la-carte fashion on the cards
Beauty industry has always been the one that totally works on experience. The trends change here fastest and with changing trends preferences of customers alter too. Awareness has been a trend since the beginning. Amelia Daswani, a celebrity makeup expert and founder of London Blow Dry Bar tell us: ‘Now, the trend will be more of customisation and a-la-carte in terms of fashion business of looks. The customer would walk in telling the exact specification, like colour of hair she wants, or the kind of makeup she prefers. So, any business which understands these aspects and fill this gap will be the ones to survive and offer bigger and better opportunity.’

Flawless customer journey will be top priority
The rise of omnichannel sales model has made brands work even harder for customer satisfaction. For 2018, bridging the gap between demands and supply will not just be the duty of the leaders but of the whole team involved in providing better and bigger experience to the patrons. It’s up to the brands to meet those expectations and create a smooth space for the customers- online or offline. Xoxoday is an experience company that​ recently launched its cloud based franchise model  where in, you don’t need any kind of investment and Area but you need to know your own city really very well. Xoxoday calls them city mentors. Abhimanyu Choudhary, Vice President- Sales for XoXoday says: 'Brands will have to be lazor focused on what their customers want. The one-size- fits-all approach went away along with mobile strategies and the B-52s. For 2018, narrow your focus, hire specialists and give customers the experience they want. Every city in this world is unique with its unique set of people and experiences. The true flavours of the city can be carved out only when local people become hosts to the tourists and help exploring authentic things of the city. It will help build the experience economy.’

The best customer experience will always help brands achieve higher customer satisfaction and better revenues too. Best brands are always ready with the strategy to give better experiences to its customers. For 2018, focusing on things that makes customers come back for more and more should be the top priority of brands.

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