Advertising guru David Ogilvy said it best in the 1950s: “The consumer is intelligent, the consumer will figure it out, the consumer will make wise choices.”

The pressing need for destinations to communicate their authentic state of being has never been more apparent. Visitors in a world rebounding from the pandemic are increasingly seeking immersive experiences that allow them to connect and better understand not just their own history, but the history of other people and places.

The most recent DestinationNEXT Futures Study showed that “unique, authentic travel experience” is the number two trend customers seek.

Joe Veneto, chief experience officer at Veneto Collaboratory, helps destinations around the country bring their essence to life by creating unforgettable, immersive experiences.

One destination he has helped harness its local assets is Destination Augusta — where CEO Bennish Brown and his team built an experiential strategy to not only showcase their distinct culture but to bring the community’s stories to life.

And it’s working.

“It is a source of pride,” said Brown. “Our board chair works for Textron … He was hosting some team members from Textron and he made sure they engaged in three of our immersive experiences. A lot of them had never been to Augusta before. They came back to him and reported that these were three of the most remarkable opportunities they’d ever had. They absolutely loved Augusta because of that.”

It’s easy to see why this kind of destination development is essential to not only attracting visitors but connecting with them. When someone engages with a destination’s authentic DNA, they leave with a new understanding of the place and their own experiences.

If your curiosity is sparked, Veneto will be hosting his annual Experience Lab on November 6-8, 2023, in Scottsdale, Arizona. This intensive workshop gives an overview of the process of creating unforgettable travel experiences.

As Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn."

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