ABSTRACT

This chapter introduces the reader to the concept of experiences. It distinguishes and discusses three types of experiences that could purposely be staged by businesses and professionals as the product they offer to (paying) customers: (1) peak experiences or memorable encounters, (2) extended or extraordinary experiences, and (3) transformative experiences or flow. A discussion on the rise of the so-called experience economy highlights the increased importance of experiences in economic transactions between companies and consumers. Staging successful experiences needs to account for the different needs and wishes of different (groups of) customers. These experiences are based on tangible products and services, but also on interaction with customers. Simultaneously, different customers are likely to react differently to (promises made with respect to) these various elements of the experience. Therefore, this chapter reviews some existing theories, models, tools and techniques that could prove helpful to businesses and professionals in shaping these elements and designing, staging and managing the overall experience they offer to consumers.