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The Future of Destinations Spend Time, Not Money

Spend Time, Not Money

Karen Klessinger

Interview with Karen Klessinger, Creative Director, dan pearlman Markenarchitektur GmbH

What makes a destination a “happy place”?

A destination is place where I feel totally welcome and at home as a person with all my needs and desires – where I can escape the stress of everyday life and just be me. All my needs are met while I’m there. It’s a place where I don’t just want to find the expected; I want to be surprised too. And I go home with lots of great memories. Special experiences have long-lasting effects; they leave lasting impressions and make you happy. A place like that has earned the right to be called a “happy place.”

Destinations, then and now – what’s the difference?

In the past, a destination was typically a natural wonder with some amenities bolted on. Today, most destinations are created by people and located in an urban context. Destination profiling is the fine art of creating new destinations that are desirable enough to hold their own in the global competition with centuries-old location brands like Paris, Venice, or the Great Pyramid. The emotional component is at least as important here as technological know-how or the understanding of how a format works. A destination needs to have a story that I like to recall, and ideally one that I want to relive. And that goes hand in hand with clear, powerful branding.

What’s going to be important for destination profiling in the future?

In the future, things will be moving away from single formats to hybrid formats. So-called “mixeduse” destinations will guarantee the flexibility and variability required by different user groups and constantly changing demands in disrup- tive times. A place has to be able to shift between different modes within 24 hours – for an event, for example, or some other important occasion. Every kind of destination will be affected by these developments.

What gets over- or underrated in destination profiling?

Technology, as the central theme of an experience, is overrated. Instead, technology should help to enhance the sensory experience, and it should be an essential element of every destination: for example, virtual-reality experiences that help us slow down and relax. We’re going to get used to mistaking fiction for reality. Time, or leisure time, as a limiting factor, is underrated. Time is the currency of the modern era. You spend time, not money. The challenge here is to stay relevant among all the other options.

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