indicatorMarkets and Economy

How COVID-19 has redefined the experience economy in Alberta

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By ATB Financial 28 April 2021



One year into the pandemic, how are interests and priorities shifting? What does that mean for organizations who offer experiences? What do vaccinations and other measures mean for participation? And, most importantly what can organizations use to plan for recovery in the coming months?

These are the kinds of questions experienced based organizations are asking as they continue to grapple with COVID-19. Much has been learned about consumer behaviours and attitudes in extraordinary circumstances, and while vaccinations and a new season offer optimism and hope, consumer expectations continue to evolve, and organizations need to understand what this means for them.   

Kim Griffin and Mathew Stone from Stone-Olafson share results, facts, and ideas from the most recent wave of Experience Economy research to help inform your decision making over the coming months. 

The Experience Economy is an ongoing provincial study that explores Albertans’ attitudes and behaviours towards live experiences across a variety of sectors. 

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Key takeaways


Comfort has predictably shifted again

There is a clear pattern emerging where comfort levels move in step with cases, restrictions and likely vaccination rates. Understanding how this comfort shifts over time will be critical for organizations to respond with appropriate messaging, programs, or even measures to keep audiences safe. 


The banana bread phase is getting stale

Albertans are through with filling time. New interests and activities have been discovered over the last year but most Albertans have not replaced what they used to do entirely. Audiences are going to want a mix of modified and full experiences going forward which means organizations need to start thinking about alternative models of program delivery over the long term.  


Our psychological mindset reflects a pent-up demand

Emotions are still intense, and this is a confused market. There is an ongoing tension between wanting to abide by the restrictions and a strong desire to get going. Simply understanding the emotional conditions of the market can give organizations hints of what to do next and how to continue planning efforts to meet the pent up demand of consumers.  


The desire for flexibility extends to financial support

Audiences desire innovation and flexibility in their experiences right now. And the same themes extend to revenue generation. There is a willingness to support without the full guarantee of an experience, but audiences just don’t want to be forced. Ensure that when you ask for their support, you do so by offering them flexible options.  


Prolonged events highlight how we prioritize differently

Most crises impact a smaller group and usually for a limited time. This is not that. And because of that, there has been a shift in priorities for most Albertans. A renewed focus on family, health and wellbeing is emerging and it means organizations need to respond to the intensely personal nature of this pandemic. 

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