DestinationCore | Shopping for experiences

Shopping for experiences

Paul Clement - Director at British BIDs and Head of Place-Shaping at Savills Place gives us his thoughts on how shifting consumer attitudes affect how people 'buy' online.

I have always been fascinated by the psychology of shopping.

Why do we buy one product rather than another? What affects one person’s buying decisions compared to someone else’s? How do people prefer to buy and in what type of environment?

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One of the most dramatic changes to consumer behaviour has been the purchase of holidays and time away. The fact that 9 to 5 hours are largely a thing of the past, and that one person’s pattern of working seldom mirrors the next, it reduces people’s social or leisure time. The model of supply versus demand suggests that, as leisure time has become squeezed, it has also become more valuable.

My parents rigidly pre-planned holidays months (sometimes a year) in advance.

They searched numerous catalogues ordered by post. In what became an annual family game, we deliberated for weeks before finally deciding where to go. Then, even more exciting, was seeing if the catalogue images bore any resemblance to the real thing when we arrived. Yet, we seldom went more than a county or two away from where we lived and, if we drove for much longer than 4-5 hours, it involved an overnight stop.

When my children search for destinations, decision-making is entirely different.

Now, today, with social time squeezed, travel is more last minute, less planning is involved, much more decision-making is based upon instinct and first impressions. Online is how we ‘buy’ places which, with the added benefits of unfiltered customer reviews, are more likely to meet our expectations when we get there.

Choices are made later, from a list that includes everywhere, experience drives the final buying decision, and the internet is the only source. My kids don’t want to stand in a queue in a shop or wait for out of stock goods to arrive to them, so don’t expect them to wait for a brochure in the post. If your place fails to entice them online within five minutes, they will swipe to move on and buy somewhere else; convince them that it offers the experience they crave, though, and they will buy on impulse.

The only slight delay - a matter of moments only – is best explained by how they react when a meal arrives in a restaurant. I would rely upon my traditional senses - look, smell and taste - to judge my food; they rely upon a fourth sense which is to photograph the plate, send it to their ‘friends’ on social networks, and wait for the reaction. If the look and feel of your place online meets with the same approval as that meal (“wow, that looks amazing, I wish I was there”) it’s game on and they are cramming their backpacks ready for the off.

Online shopping has transformed the retail environment forever.

In the equally cut-throat, brutal and competitive world of destination marketing, it will be those places that have the most consumer-centric online tools that will rise above the rest and prove to be the real winners.

View some case studies

NewcastleGateshead

NewcastleGateshead

The NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the DMO representing Newcastle, Gateshead and the surrounding areas. They came to us frustrated with their existing website solution – feeling that their current provider was offering poor value for money. Our solution has helped transform their online presence by improving the user experience and offering greater value for their members.

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Visit Southampton

Visit Southampton

Southampton BID had just gone through a brand refresh and were looking to help bring that brand to life with a powerful online experience. They wanted visitsouthampton.co.uk to be the go-to website for users to find out about what to do and what's on in Southampton. They chose the Advanced core package and The List Events Feed module to power their website.

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All About Ipswich

All About Ipswich

All About Ipswich is a DMO for Ipswich and the surrounding area. The website showcases events and offers, and also includes a business directory. It provides easy access to a huge range of content, with the Journey Planner and Itinerary Builder modules enriching the user experience. The Campaign Section module provides a hub for the client's numerous marketing initiatives.

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Visit Clapham Junction

Visit Clapham Junction

As a BID in their first term The Junction BID needed to make an impact. Attracting visitors to Clapham Junction by showcasing what’s on offer and demonstrating value to the businesses they represent was essential. They chose the Offers and Events progressive web app alongside the Advanced core package to encourage people who work within the BID area to spend more time at The Junction.

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In Colchester

In Colchester

In Colchester is the consumer website for the Colchester BID. We helped them create a new consumer facing brand, and then applied that brand to the DestinationCore platform to create a stunning looking website. Launched in August 2019 the feedback for this site has been superb. The client is looking to refine and improve the website in the coming months and years by adding modules in the future.

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Visit Melchester

Visit Melchester

We’ve created a demo site for our fantasy town of Melchester. It’s an idyllic location by the sea, with an abundance of independent retailers and fair number of local characters too. Be sure to check out the blog about a true local hero - Admiral Standfast. Use the 'Toggle' button to switch between the Standard and Advanced sites to compare the differences. Go on. Take a trip to Melchester!

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