We in Hospitality are in the business of memories. To market our business, we either evoke or create those memories. Sometimes, we should return to that drawing board and understand what makes us memorable to our guests, patrons and visitors. Some may reflect upon their honeymoon or extraordinary vacation. Perhaps, it was that special dinner or family reunion gathering. Maybe, that raft ride down the Snake River, the extreme ski trip, or snorkeling the reef. Some events capture a generation. If you listen to people who claimed Woodstock, the festival would have hosted millions. Although she did not attend, Barbra Streisand understands.
To demonstrate the power of memory, a very sensory application has been demonstrated by a very unusual source – the National Hockey League (NHL). If they can do it, so can you.
The NHL has powered up their Stadium Series in 2014. In a variety of outdoor venues, they have presented (or will) hockey games in the elements, rather than the indoor arenas. For many of us who play or have played the sport, these presentations harken back to our youth.
We skated on ponds, lakes and backyard rinks until the sun set. We cleared the ice of snow after a storm; we chased loose pucks into the woods and the marshes; we listened to the groan of ice pressure as fissures cracked about. It was cold, windy, as we blasted along the glaze, shifting speed, a deke here and there, a quick pass to our brother or best pal, as they tipped the puck through that make-shift goal. During those years, girls were often just as good as we boys. Then, we all grew up, but we did not forget the pleasure of those days.
You might have guessed – I used to play hockey. Growing up in New Jersey, we had a lake that was the first to freeze with black ice. I played through high school, coached my two sons and last skated with Canadian men’s league at a rink in the border village of Rouses Point, NY, where the ice time was available and cheap. Thank goodness it was no-check, no-slap.
The NHL has tapped into mine as well as many others’ fond memories. They have created ice rinks in off season stadiums and parks – like Fenway, Yankee, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Soldier Field, even Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The last venue in LA was kind of odd, due to the weather. The ceremonial puck was dropped by the Great One – Wayne Gretzky, who entered the baseball diamond from a grove of palm trees. But, never mind – Gretzky is just way too cool (and memorable himself).
The NHL has created a showcase event in major markets, selling a mass of tickets, televising the game throughout North America and beyond. They have not only created memories for a new audience but also they have effectively evoked them for many more. There is no better exclamation for a company than a broadcasted “Score!” Maybe it is time to reconsider your message, as well.
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog 'A Guy Walks In'. LRA is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability. We have built a range of quality assurance, mystery shopping, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so.
Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, servicing our clients from offices and resources in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions and helping clients such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the National Football League, Avis Budget Group, Madison Square Garden, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time. For more information, visit www.LRAworldwide.com.
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