Virgin Experience Days: “Experiences are where life happens – and we’re set to help satisfy pent up consumer demand.”

Experiences were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the eye of the Coronavirus storm. Shuttered indefinitely, the industry showed immense resilience and creativity to ride out lockdown and get itself ‘new normal’ ready.

Now poised to reopen, the future looks bright despite uncertainty. While people adjusted remarkably to a lot of things staying at home, there’s just no substitute for getting out there again. Experiences are where life happens, and we’re set to help satisfy pent up consumer demand here.

Pulse surveys of our customers throughout the lockdown have demonstrated this steady increase in appetite, with 44% of respondents looking to enjoy an experience in the next three months. Within this, traditionally popular categories such as Dining and Days Out prove the post-lockdown experiences of choice, a return to normal pleasures outweighing the inconvenience of new safety measures.

Closed doors to ‘real world’ experiences meant they had to adapt quickly. We’ve seen lots of new-to-market online experiences for consumers to take from the comfort of their homes. The most successful of these tapped into the new passion economy: baking, mixology, learning a hobby or professional skill just a few examples. People were looking to fill their new-look free time productively, and experiences were able to accommodate nicely.

Experiences have a big role to play in the reopening of the hospitality sector. The ones able to approach new health and safety measures in a fun, on-brand way, have an opportunity to really stand out and capture market share. While real world experiences will always be king, there’s definitely an appetite to discover experiences remotely, and we think that this area of the industry will continue to develop as either new products or supplementary to existing experiences.

The flexibility of gift vouchers has been instrumental in reassuring customers throughout and will continue to be so moving forward. Customer trepidation is completely understandable, which is why we’re offering extensions free of charge. Once experiences are up and running, we want people to be able to enjoy them when they feel confident and safe, this remains of paramount importance in the months ahead.

 

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