“Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.”

(Albert Schweitzer, philosopher)

You may be watching the Strictly final on your own, but you’re not alone. This real-time, emotionally charged event is an experience shared by thousands – before, during, and after the live broadcast. The commercial value of this show lies in the shared experience.

Sharing is at the core of our existence. Drinks with friends, live music, chips on the seafront, sunsets, football matches, fairground rides, Captain Tom … experiences are enhanced when shared.

A recounted experience triggers an emotional response in both the audience and the teller. A humorous anecdote, success story, or tale of frustration take on the piquancy of sharing.

Cooperation, sociability, and empathy have been main drivers in the relatively short and speedy evolution of Homo sapiens. Pack hunting and tribal living have promoted social care, divided labour, and language. Empathy, a neural function that triggers a strong emotional response, has been instrumental in the development of social bonds.

An ability to grasp the concept of potential (i.e. having an imagination), combined with empathy, memory, and highly developed language skills, has led to a species that lives through stories.

Television, movies, newspapers, novels, radio, theatre, poetry, libel, slander, concealing marital infidelity, songs, political propaganda, jokes, religion, education, job interviews, marketing, memories, fantasies, what we had for lunch … all are part of our story-telling existence.

We don’t take photographs to help us remember. We take photographs to help us share.

“Without meaning to, we are un-sharing experiences.”

(Erica Boothby, psychological scientist)

In 2014, a team of psychological scientists at Yale University (Connecticut, USA), led by Erica Boothby, conducted a study of shared experiences.

Through extensive experiments, the team concluded that shared experiences were amplified: nice experiences were better when shared; unpleasant experiences were worse.

One of the experiments revealed that the taste of chocolate was enhanced for participants when eating the chocolate with another person. The participants weren’t aware of the exact nature of the experiment – nor were they aware that all the chocolate samples came from the same bar. When the other person was doing something different, such as reading a magazine, the chocolate didn’t taste quite as good.

The research team reasoned that the very act of sharing might stimulate positive feelings. To eliminate this theory, the participants were given a piece of bitter chocolate (which they’d already agreed had an unpleasant taste) to eat alone and in company. Unaware that the two pieces of bitter chocolate were identical, the participants attributed a more unpleasant taste to the chocolate they ate with a companion.

The Yale team speculated that we automatically simulate the senses and sensations of others. When subconsciously aware of others’ experiences, our own are intensified.

This conclusion gives rise to a concern that with so much going on in our lives, we miss out on opportunities to share experiences.

“We text friends while at a party, check our Twitter feed while out to dinner, and play Sudoku while watching TV with family. Without meaning to, we are un-sharing experiences with the people around us.” (Erica Boothby)

“Enrich the guest experience.”

(Luke Basey, MD @ Exalted Mktg)

A holiday is a very special time – an oasis of luxury in the timeline of everyday life. In the hospitality industry, there are countless opportunities to provide the setting for a rich and fulfilling guest experience.

What a venue has to offer goes beyond a pleasant location, good food, and attractive décor. A venue can provide shared experiences that bring people together, enhancing their enjoyment through sharing. Shared experiences create lasting memories.

Would you like to talk to us about venue development and management? Why not book a free phone consultation. We’d love to help you unlock the full potential of your business.