As TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2023 fast approaches, we caught up with Hugh Gledhill, performance marketing director at Layered Reality, a London-based business that develops immersive events.
Gledhill joined Layered Reality in 2020 after spells as head of sales and marketing at Family Tickets and head of marketing at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Layered Reality’s productions – which fuse the latest in virtual reality performance technology, live actors and high-quality sets – have included The Gunpowder Plot and Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience, with more to come this year.
Here, Gledhill discusses Layered Reality’s plans for 2023, tourism trends and what he is looking forward to discussing at TheTicketingBusiness Forum at Emirates Old Trafford from April 19-20…
What are the key current challenges and opportunities in the sector?
Hugh Gledhill: “As we’re selling new and different experiences, the biggest challenge is pretty fundamental: customers have no idea what the experience is, or what to expect for the price of a ticket.
“Layered Reality experiences put you inside the story – they combine live actors, virtual reality, multi-sensory effects and digital tech. But how do you explain what it’s really like to experience escaping from the Tower of London in 1605 or dodging 300-foot Martian Fighting Machines with a group of friends and family!
“Over the next 12 months we anticipate the recovery of inbound tourism and corporate entertainment to present significant growth opportunities across the sector.
“Longer term, it’s all about establishing Layered Reality experiences as a regular leisure activity. Like going to the cinema, a show or sports event, only it’s more memorable because you’re not just sitting there watching, you’re part of the action.
“We’re seeing huge demand for these experiences and incredible reviews from customers. So, the opportunity is to keep growing this audience, and add more experiences in different locations.”
What are the most interesting trends you are witnessing in the sector?
HG: “Fluctuating and unpredictable demand – every month brings an unprecedented new sales pattern!
“Over the last 12 months we’ve seen a major shift towards late booking. Meanwhile demand for low prices has also grown. And now we’re seeing a spike in demand for our most expensive weekend and VIP tickets.
“Customers are not stopping spending on leisure, but they are becoming more selective and value-conscious. For some, this means low prices. For others, a growing number want to spend more on really special memorable experiences.
“Responding quickly to meet these different demands and shifting buying trends has become a critical factor in maintaining growth in sales.”
What are Layered Reality’s plans over the coming year?
HG: “We’re working on two new shows: an interactive experience at one of London’s biggest tourist destinations, and another feature length experience based on a major Hollywood IP. We’re also looking at where we can take these experiences next globally.”
What are you looking forward to exploring more at the Forum?
HG: “I’m looking forward to talking to suppliers and other attendees this year at TBF, exploring new possibilities to improve customer experience, websites, ticketing systems, CRM systems and dynamic pricing.”
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