Experiences have the power to add in our personal cartography new qualities, have the power to transform us. Εxperiences, as Nanos Fireworks’ case prove, is all.
We have seen that economy is dematerializing, concomitantly interchanging its materiaristic basis with the prioritized role of experiences in our life.
We also see that even the amenities of the luxury hotels become experiential, namely intangible, immaterial values. For example, the personal pianist in the Royal Suite at The Goring Hotel, London, the Genealogist at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel, Ireland, the surf butler at St. Regis Monarch Beach, a night of guided stargazing at The Rich Carlton Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs or private ski lessons with triple Olympic medalist Florence Masnada at L’ Apogee Courchevel, France.
Following the shift paradigm from a reificated, depersonalized economic model towards an experience-based framework, we delve in this article into the magnitude of experiences in the Tourism and Leisure industry through the case of the globally renowned fireworks company and internationally awarded Pyro & SFX experiences orchestrator, Nanos Fireworks.
1)Facets of our identities hatching in our experiences
Gilbert and co-authors identify that experiences – contrary to things- behold a considerably higher potential of being mentally revisited, namely being remembered, as our experiences encompass more associations to our identities. Actually,
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods”, agrees Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences” (Cassano 2015).
Experiences are ascribed maximized happiness “because we turn them into a part of our identities. If you take three weeks to explore Nepal, your treks around the Himalayas will become a part of who you think you are” (Baer 2014).
Experiences, that is, become an ingrained part of our identity.
Our experiences are remodelled into our stories; they are developed and grown into, they evolve, ripen and eventually become crystallized into chapters of our story bank. The best chapters of this book of ‘story bank’ are our signature stories.
Pavlos’ pyrotechnic choreography for Miaoulia, Hydra.
Armata is all about a celebration through which Pavlos’ great grandfather, grandfather, father, and now he and his brother highlight the fireworks as a vehicle of cultural tourism and meanings. An experience and a medium, namely, that experientially stimulates the knowledge and produces culture while depicting the history and keeping it alive: Through an astonishing pyro spectacle, a memorable way, the traveler learns history, immerses himself in the destination and becomes part of it in an indelible way.
As Pavlos Nanos asserts:
All in all, Armata is turned into a part of the spectator’s identity and becomes a part of who he thinks he is; a dimension of himself is enclosed in this pyrotechnic experience, a signature story of his life’s “story bank”.
2)Experiences are all about our association with others
Experiences are usually shared in our social interactions; and sociality is our chief fountain of happiness (Gilbert et al. 2011). It is true; it does not only take two to tango, it does also take two to experience: “We consume experiences directly with other people. And after they're gone, they're part of the stories that we tell to one another” (Gilovich in Cassano 2015).
And “shared experiences connect us more to other people than shared consumption. You're much more likely to feel connected to someone you took a vacation with in Bogotá than someone who also happens to have bought a 4K TV” (Cassano 2015).
This suggestion is interrelated with what Jennifer Aaker (2012), General Atlantic Professor of Μarketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business, claims. Having as a central research stream the matter of happiness, she corroborates that happiness is dependable on and commensurate with how “connected to people and the world around them” we are. It is all about our connectivity and affiliation with others.
3)The Uniqueness and Incomparability of Experiences
“Experiences often seem as unique as the people who are having them”. Gilbert et al. (2011) attest to this when they say that “it can be difficult to compare the butt-numbing bicycle ride we decided to take through the Canadian Arctic to the sunny Sonoma wine tour we could have taken instead..” (Carter & Gilovich, 2010).
Nanos Fireworks’ output
Now, imagine your name painted in the celestial landscape or your favorite symbol being ordered in a fireworks factory only for you, and being depicted in the sky.
Oh boy, this is experience.
Csikszentmihalyi (1990, p. 3) identifies the optimal experience when “we feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment that is long cherished and that becomes a landmark in memory for what life should be like.”
Experiences are this and they also have the power to add in our personal cartography new qualities, have the power to transform us.
Yes, you guessed right, experiences, as Nanos Fireworks’ case prove, is all.
For more information about fireworks and special effects (SFX) as experiences:
Alexia Charoupa has graduated from the Department of Communication, Media and Culture, of Panteion University (with a specialization in Marketing, PR and Communication). She is a Hospitality Storyteller on Travel Daily News and Hospitality Net. Furthermore she is Guest Experience Expert at The Cloud Keys. She has performed Concierge at The Romanos, A Luxury Collection Resort, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Concierge d'hôtel at Katikies Hotel, Santorini, and Guest Relations Manager at Rocabella Santorini Hotel & SPA, Santorini.
Moreover, she is the Creator of "The Storytelling Hotel". With "The Storytelling Hotel”, Alexia represented Greece in the 3rd Annual European Thesis Competition of Edcom by EACA (European Association of Communication Agencies) after being nominated by the Greek Institute of Communication to do so and was given a place among the TOP 10 European Finalists.
"The Storytelling Hotel” was also awarded the Silver Tourism Award 2016- in the Section: Strategy & Innovation/ Award Category: 1.7 Research & Writing Work: ΤEMES (Costa Navarino) in cooperation with Alexia Charoupa, Bachelor Thesis, Panteion University.
In March 2017 she was distinguished with “The Storytelling Hotel” as Best Hotel Management Consultant (silver award) in the Greek Hospitality Awards 2017.
Her expertise lies in the branding narrative management of hotels, the experience economy as well as the creation of storytelling and "wow" factors in the field of hospitality. Cognizing hotels as narrative platforms, with any hospitality brand that she works, she tries to increase its uniqueness in terms of service innovation, accomplish personalized signature experiences and, last but not least, manage the emotional connection of the guest with the brand.
She is also a Stanford’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Professional Certificate student.