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The importance of memorable and meaningful experiences


Anu Seppänen

lehtori, markkinointi ja viestintä
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Annika Konttinen

lehtori, matkailuliiketoiminta
Senior Lecturer, tourism business
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Julkaistu : 16.05.2019

Many people feel guilty of overconsumption. It seems that consuming time, energy and money on stuff is not making us any happier. In fact, we feel that our homes are full of clutter and that too much of our time is spend at work. As a result, many of us are switching into experiences which do not need to include any new products and which will allow us spend time with the people we love and care about.

We know that we cannot go on as before and that change is inevitable. Our obsessive relationship with material things is not only threatening the climate, but it is putting even our relationships in jeopardy. Thus, many of us are looking for a healthier lifestyle and new experiences to increase wellness and well-being.  Already now, there are communities built through shared resources bringing people together in ways which benefit everyone. Hotels have added places where people can meet and mingle. Communal tables have become a mainstay at restaurants around the world. Visitors are invited to share a meal at local homes. Even airline safety videos have become entertaining and engaging. We want to spend our time with experiences.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the world-famous book by Joe Pine and James Gilmore, “The Experience Economy”. Finally, the world is ready for its message.

Time well spent

People get more demanding with the experiences over time. We have become aware of the fact that time is a scarce resource and we must make decisions on what is worth of our attention. We want experiences that include authentic ingredients, something that seems real and genuine. Storytelling plays an essential part in this, as stories make the experience stand out and leave memories. According to the experience gurus Pine and Gilmore, successful experiences need to be aesthetic, engaging, entertaining and educational. Edutainment is no longer enough, though. Now many of us expect the highest form of experiences, the ultimate transformation.

Life changing experiences usually happen out of our comfort zones. In order for any experience to be transformational, it must interrupt our daily routines and take us along a journey to something new. It must appeal to us on an emotional level, may that be fear, compassion or a sense of adventure. Best experiences also engage the body and all five senses in various ways. An “anchor memory” takes us back to the exact moment when everything changed. Time is precious. In order to embrace happiness, we want to make every moment count.

Enhancing experiences with digital elements

Even though people still want to meet each other in person, we can add immersive elements to the experiences through the means of technology. Sports, arts and many leisure activities are becoming intermingled in creating experiences. Technological solutions can help us personalise the experience. Digital multisensory applications appealing to all the senses can make the experience even more memorable, meaningful and inspiring. Experiences that are created with the help of artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual solutions link us to other people, knowledge, education and entertainment globally. This in turn helps us in reinventing our lives and making a difference in the world, which both promote wellness and wellbeing in an affordable manner.

Responding to demand of the industry and its future professionals, Haaga-Helia offers multiple modules and courses on experience design. We are behind one of them – Digital Experience Design. We believe that knowing how to create personal and memorable experiences is an essential part of well-being of both companies and consumers. It can also help companies acquire and retain customers as well as recruit and retain top talent. Experiences make business sense, too. Professionals who have fresh ideas and creative ways to push business forward are already one step ahead of the more traditional thinkers.