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New Report Finds In-Person Branded Experiences Outpaced Virtual For The First Time Since Pandemic

Research from AnyRoad Explores Trends in the Experience Economy as 75% of Brands Relaunch In-Person Experiences

AnyRoad, the leader in Experience Relationship Management (ERM),  unveiled Experiential Trends 2021, a report that examines how brands are capitalizing on the experience economy and explores best practices for branded experiences as the world reopens.

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Experiential Trends 2021 is based on aggregated data from more than 400 customers that use AnyRoad to power their branded experiences, including Budweiser, Honda, Michaels, and Tabasco. A vast majority (75%) of the brands analyzed have already reopened for in-person experiences, ranging from in-store appointments and services to activations, tours and classes, while many (70%) continue to offer online experiences as part of their customer engagement strategy.

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Key takeaways include:

  • Reopening is accelerating and in-person experiences are booming. For the first time in over a year, in-person experience attendance outpaced virtual events and 68% of experiences in May 2021 were in-person, up from 4% in May 2020.
  • Online experiences remain an effective way to increase geographic reach. One brand analyzed was able to increase its audience size by over 60% by adding online experiences to its portfolio.
  • Online experiences have a similar impact on brand perception as in-person experiences. Post-experience net-promoter scores (NPS) for online (80 NPS) and in-person (82 NPS) experiences have narrowed over the past year.
  • Zoom fatigue means compelling content is critical. On average, just one in three consumers shows up to an online experience, whether it is paid or free. Brands that offer unique content can double attendance rates for online experiences, as top-performers saw attendance rates of 65%.
  • Consumers are booking ahead and spending more per visit. The average booking window has increased from 11 to 15 days and spend per visit has increased by 4.5x year-to-date as more activities open up.
  • Increased opportunity for add-ons and personalization. Post-COVID consumers are 10-15% more likely to upgrade or personalize their experiences. For example, a brand that offers a distillery tour might generate a lift in sales by offering a limited edition bottle at checkout.

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“Consumers have a pent up desire for in-real-life events and brands that are quick to reopen will build loyalty and get ahead of competition as the weather gets warmer and restrictions reduce,” said Jonathan Yaffe, co-founder and CEO of AnyRoad. “We’re already seeing brands that are hosting in-person experiences getting more engagement, data and insights and, in many cases, seeing meaningful revenue growth from add-ons and premium offerings. At the same time, virtual experiences are here to stay and the smartest brands will continue to take a differentiated, hybrid approach to break through the noise.”

To create Experiential Trends 2021, AnyRoad analyzed data from three million unique experiential records derived from over 400 customers’ branded experiences in more than 90 countries (primarily US and UK). The report covers operational insights from AnyRoad Experience Manager, including types of experiences, geographic trends and engagement metrics (such as guest volume, services and bookings revenue, revenue per visit, etc.) as well as sentiment and behaviors surfaced through AnyRoad Atlas, including NPS surveys and open text feedback analyzed via NLP.

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