How to create an immersive guest experience in the leisure industry

In this guest blog article, our friends at Katapult give advice to leisure venues and visitor attractions on how to create an immersive guest experience. Katapult create and design themed attractions and their work has been experienced by over 50 million visitors globally, over the last year. To date, Katapult has worked with 81 industry-leading attractions in 18 different countries.

“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in whilst they’re in the park. I want them to feel like they’re in another world.” - Walt Disney

At Katapult, we have worked with global theme parks and attractions to design and create experiences that offer something new, completely immersive and act as a doorway for guests to step into a different world.

Here are some tips for you to create the most immersive experience possible, regardless of whether you work in a theme park, water park or shopping centre.

Create a narrative

A narrative is essentially the story that guests will follow through the experience. Too often, we see experiences in the industry that are themed and designed very well, but lack a story for guests to engage in. A narrative should be like the synopsis on the back page of a fictional book - enough information to excite and interest, but not enough to give away the ending.

Go bold with designs

Due to the speed of light, we humans will always be immersed by what we see first, rather than what we hear, smell, touch or taste. As a result, to create immersion in an experience, you must be bold with your designs. From rollercoaster queue lines to pop-up experiences in shopping centres, go large scale, colourful, sparkly… whatever it takes to grab their eye.

Make technology convenient

Any technology that you want to use in your experience has to either offer greater immersion or offer greater convenience compared to traditional forms. A self-service kiosk in a themed restaurant, for example, needs to be quicker and easier than ordering to a member of staff. It should also be designed similar to the rest of the restaurant to build greater immersion.

Immerse frontline staff

Any staff members you have, need to be immersed in the experience too. They should know the narrative of the experience, have the relevant outfit, and even undertake drama lessons to be part of the whole experience. These staff members are your storytellers - one false move and the experience you’ve tried to build will come crashing down.

Whatever your leisure destination or visitor attraction, these initial tips will greatly enhance your experience’s immersion. Immersion breeds excitement, excitement increases satisfaction scores, satisfaction means loyalty and higher spend per head.