Learning from Las Vegas and JetBlue

This week I’m on the road again doing more e-mail marketing seminars, and yesterday I was in Las Vegas.  To get there I had my 7th flight of the month. For arts marketers, there’s a lot to learn from Las Vegas, and a lot to learn from JetBlue.

Digesting the sensory overload that is “the strip” in Las Vegas will take me a few more days. But I did have an experience at Cirque du Soliel that was worth noticing. I went to see “Love” which is their homage to the Beatles. Even before I entered the theater it has hard to not notice that virtually everything was in British theme. And I mean everything – the colors, the music, the graphics, the spelling.  Even the clearly American college student ticket-takers had fake British accents. In fact, it annoyed me at first until I realized that these people were trying to make this a total experience. Cirque understand that even the ticket-takers help make the event a memorable one.

Now let’s skip over to the JetBlue experience and the lesser one I had yesterday on American Airlines. While JetBlue is still my favorite airline, the bloom is definitely off, since I was also caught in the Valentine’s Day cancellation mess. Having said that, when I boarded my 9 AM flight on Sunday morning to Las Vegas, the flight attendants were clearly happy to be there, and in a good mood. They smiled, they were helpful and the flight was packed.

Now, I compare the packed American flight I was on to Dallas yesterday. The flight attendants were not happy to be there, and in fact, everything about their demeanor said “tired” to me. The announcements on the loudspeaker, the service, the smiles, and the overall mood were competent at best. Did they serve drinks? Sure. Did they say “hello” and “welcome to Dallas” like they were supposed to? Sure.

But, the message I got was clearly that this was their job, a job they didn’t care much about doing more than the minimum. And it didn’t help that about 50% of the flight didn’t get their luggage until one hour after the flight landed. No explanation, nothing.

So, what’s this got to do with the arts, you say? A lot! When was the last time you bought a ticket at your box office? How about the ticket takers at your events? Are they happy to be there? Is there a welcoming attitude on the phone, and in the theater? How about in the language you use in your e-mails and on your web site. All of these things matter a lot, and in a way, maybe as much as the actual show itself.

I learned a lot from Las Vegas and JetBlue. 

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