news • Oct 24 2023

Walk This Way: Walk-Through Experiences Are the Future

We all know the power of taking a walk for boosting our health and clearing our minds. The simple task of moving on one’s own accord has been repeatedly proven as a key to health and happiness. That’s why it’s so important that diverse industries are now recognizing the power of walk-through experiences. 

A feast for the senses, multi-sensory walk-through experiences combine the power of storytelling with the sounds, style and visuals of entertainment. These immersive experiences are increasing in demand, and diverse industries are taking hold of their influence in order to solidify their roles in the modern landscape. 

Here’s a look at the way several industries are embracing walk-through experiences to tell their story in a vibrant way.


The World of Theme Parks

The theme park industry is currently undergoing a renaissance of walk-through attractions. 

At Disney World, the upcoming Journey Through Water experience is based around the gargantuan success of Moana, an animated film about a brave teen who sets sail to save her people. But in contrast to the tradition of rollercoasters like Space Mountain, Journey Through Water, which opened recently, won’t be a thrill ride. Instead, it’s a self-guided outdoor trail that demonstrates how new attractions must allow each guest to experience it in their own way. 

By allowing each participant to move through the attraction independently, it instills a sense of autonomy. Each person, no matter their age or walkability level, can have their own reaction based on their individual journey. 

Several other theme parks are recognizing this potential. On the heels of the tremendous success of Barbie, Mattel Adventure Park is also in the works, with Barbie’s Beach House set to be a walk-through attraction that’s sure to attract droves of guests. It will have everything from a bar and restaurant to hologram technology. Each guest can craft their own experience in a way that fits their lifestyle. 


Entertainment-Based Pop-Up Events

Curling up in front of the TV at the end of a long day is a fun way to relax. But the world of entertainment has also figured out how to establish valuable walk-through experiences that boost subscriptions and encourage appreciation for its programming. 

The beloved Hulu series, Only Murders in the Building, follows three New Yorkers as they attempt to solve a trail of mysteries. In honor of the third season’s storyline,  a free-popup experience recreated the fictional Goosebury Theater, which is the setting for a murder of a famed TV star. Not only does the pop-up exhibit encourage fans to sign up for Hulu and become devoted fans of the series, but it features tactile product integrations from star Selena Gomez’s beauty line. Guests stroll through the Goosebury while checking out the costumes and snapping photos with pieces from the sets. 

It’s a similar experience to the incredibly popular traveling Downton Abbey Exhibition, a ticketed tour which had an extensive array of merchandise available when you walked through the exit. Both attractions are great examples of walk-through experiences that ultimately drive revenue for the companies behind them. 


The Retail Industry

We’ve all casually walked into a store before. But it’s the stores that are truly embracing the customer experience that find the ability to thrive in a challenging market. 

Consider Ikea, whose shopping journey is already a significant endeavor due to the massive footprint of its stores. But during the recent Milan Fashion Week, Ikea embraced this interactive theory by encouraging foot traffic with celebratory raves. They converted warehouses into midnight dance parties, filled with displays of vintage Ikea decor and art installations made out of Ikea products. 

While it may seem unusual, it was all done with a strong mission in mind. As Ikea has plans to spend $2.2 billion in investments to expand their stores across the United States in the hopes of competing with stores like Walmart and Target, they’re working avidly to build a strong customer base.

“We’re trying to do the same thing here with actually, you know, envisioning new ways of doing retail and meeting people in new ways,” the head of Ikea told Fast Company.  “From a creative point of view, that’s fun to work on. It’s a challenge.”


Why Walk-Through Experiences are So Important

At a time when people are more glued to their phones than ever, the greatest asset a company can earn is a customer’s active participation. Walk–through exhibitions demand that of their participants. While making a profit is naturally a goal, earning the repeat engagement of people is of the utmost importance. 

“This storytelling approach not only captivates the audience but also encourages multiple visits to fully appreciate the richness of the narrative,” a Theme Park Tourist post reads

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar storefront or a full-size theme park, thinking creatively to encourage a strong customer base is the wisest endeavor. As the industry continues to evolve, it’s the organizations that take hold of this ground-breaking innovation that will find the ability to thrive. 

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