Hospitality and entertainment industries must intertwine, says expert

Collaboration is key according to entertainment expert Dan Bolton

As the world starts to awaken from its COVID slumber and the hospitality industry takes the tentative steps in its comeback, we are entering a landscape where guest and consumer experiences are more important than ever.

The reality is that the crisis has, for now, not gone away but we do need to address and shift the conversation to a place where we examine the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. Through all challenges there are silver linings, no matter how impossible it may be to see them at the time.

With the sudden hiatus to our industries and the subsequent questioning of how we return consumer confidence to attending our venues, establishments and events, we have had time to re-evaluate our offerings and examine new, innovative ways to engage with consumers in a world where the value of experience is becoming key to success in an industry that, in the Middle East in particular, was over-saturated with a plethora of options for a dwindling customer base.

My foray into the hospitality industry started way back at the turn of the century, working the bars and restaurants of hotels within my native North Manchester suburb before I moved into the world of entertainment and circus antiques. All the training I had received working in a costumer-facing role stood me in perfect stead for a short, yet lively career juggling and fire breathing at events across the world.

Both roles, although vastly different, required the same element of performance, theatrics and attention to detail to ensure we created special, memorable and unforgettable personal moments for those whom we were fortunate enough to have grace our bar or stage each evening. I have long been an advocate that the hospitality and entertainment industries are intertwined and in a post-COVID environment that relationship is and will continue to be more important than ever.

As we see the growing spending influence of the millennial and generation z demographic, 78 percent of whom place the value of experiences over material items, this rapid acceleration to a more holistic sensory experience has only been amplified by the current pandemic and the opportunities that await.

How we have integrated entertainment into offerings in the past is now redundant and we need to re-imagine the possibilities that lie ahead. Carefully curated immersive performances deliver feasts for the eyes, complementing the delicacies on our taste buds as selected musical playlists harness the power to evoke emotions, creating lasting, authentic experiences. The barriers between our senses have been broken as we welcome the ability to come together again after a period of enforced isolation, all a little more appreciative of those things we may have taken for granted.

The time before us will certainly not be easy. As we emerge from one crisis a new challenge awaits. The economic fall-out the world is facing is vast and the hospitality industry in particular will be at the forefront of the battle. As establishments work to entice an economically conscious clientele, the ramifications of “stay home” instructions as well as the pivot to virtual engagement across the world continue to play out, this relationship between venues and entertainment will be co-dependent.

Entertainment offerings have the ability to help create, tell and share stories. As we all work towards restoring our respective industries it is these stories and unique, clientele-focused experiences that have the ability to help us re-engage and redefine our collective futures. Collaboration is key and that starts long before stepping out on stage.

Dan Bolton is a prominent artist director and creative producer with more than 21 years’ experience and an extensive global network in the live events, entertainment and performance industry. He specialises in artist management, choreography and the conceptualisation, creation and delivery of live performances, working alongside brands and clients to create unique and compelling performances for ceremonies, corporate launches, public spectacles and more. Find out more at @danboltondxb.

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