The notion of an “experience economy” was the primary topic of discussion at this week’s Video Conference, organised by Bourne 4 Events at Bournemouth University.

Bourne 4 Events consists of a group of students currently studying Events Management at Bournemouth University. This week, the group put together a Video Conference and kindly asked a representative from Liz Lean PR to attend as a delegate and contribute to the discussion.

‘The Impact of Social Media on Events’ covered a range of topics including events marketing, social media events evaluation, the consumer experience and digital technology. We heard from Alesandro Inversini, Lenia Marques, Herbert Daly, Manal Al-Alwai and Barbara Neuhofer. Here’s a round-up of what was covered by each academic:

Alesandro Inversini – Introduction about Digital Technologies and Social Media in Events

  • Event attendees have different information needs before, during and after their experience. Gretzel et al. 2005 established “The Experiential Context” which consists of three stages: 1. Pre-consumption: planning, expectation, decision making, transaction, anticipation, 2. Consumption: navigation, connection, on-site transaction, 3. Post-consumption: sharing, documentation, memory, re-experiencing, attachment
  • Event organisers need to focus on the first and final stage as much as (if not more than) the second level.
  • Event organisers need to create a digital landscape to enhance and develop the business-consumer relationship. Digital landscapes consist of mobile apps, websites and social media platforms.
  • “Consumers are much more exigent than before” (Dimitrios Buhalis & Law – 2008) and “more impressionable” (Blackshaw – 2006).

Herbert Daly and Manal Al-Alwai – Events and Social Media: A technological Perspective

  • If your event doesn’t have a space in social media… did it really happen in the first place?
  • Social media gives a global voice to each event in real-time and helps to amplify an event, making it evergreen.
  • Event organisers on social media need to be reactive to hazards – for example if there is a camp fire e.g. at Glastonbury, the chances are the first place you’ll hear about it is on social media. Due to the evolution of geo-tagging, you’ll be able to work out exactly which field it’s in and probably which tent – so social media managers will need to be really quick off the mark to react to situations like this.

Lenia Marques – Social Media and the Events Experience

  • We are living in an “experience economy” where the emotional connection to an experience is more important than the event itself. Event organisers cannot think about their event in a linear way, “experience creation is a broader concept than experience production.”
  • “You are what you can access” (Belk, 2013)

Barbara Neuhofer – Social Media, Co-creation and Experiences: Creating Enhanced Customer Experiences

  • The tourism industry has been completely revolutionised over the last decade through experience economy and the importance of creating a moment of value different from everyday life experience.
  • “Consumers no longer want to buy products or services. They want to get experiences” (Morgan et al, 2010).
  • Example of Starbucks used – it is just coffee, so how does Starbucks sell an experience every time they sell a cup?
  • The consumers have become the producers – they are part of the creation and use social media to engage in dialogue with the company. This is also known as C2C Co-Creation (customers no longer purely co-create with companies, but also with other customers to create experiences and value).
  • Example of Sol Wave House Hotel in Magaluf – the world’s first Twitter-themed hotel. Visitors can channel their love of social media and network with other hotel guests without ever having to leave their room, using the hashtag #SocialWave.

Thanks to Bourne 4 Events and Bournemouth University for inviting me along to the conference – it was great to hear from so many academics. I particularly enjoyed contributing to the discussions about Glastonbury (we discussed whether one is actually present in the moment if constantly on a mobile device) and digital detox (a hot topic in the wellness industry at the moment).

By Alice Rook