The International Service Design + Tourism Conference, which launched last year in Austria, will make its U.S. debut in Sarasota Nov. 7.
The conference, at the Ringling College of Art and Design from Nov. 7-9, includes speakers from 15 countries who will focus on brand design topics, conference spokeswoman Michelle Bauer says. “We are in the age of the empowered customer,” Bauer tells Coffee Talk. “It is no longer OK to develop the near-perfect customer experience.”
The road to that perfect experience includes keynote presentations from two global leaders in service design: Simon Bradley, vice president of marketing, North America, for Virgin Atlantic, and Hyatt Hotels Corp. Vice President of Global Innovation Jonathan Frolich. Bradley will talk about how Virgin designed a world-class air travel experience, while Frolich will talk about how to design new experiences in hospitality. The presentations are scheduled for 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 9.
“Jonathan and Simon's talks will get at the heart of what is most important for businesses today: creating an emotional relationship with their customers that makes it easy for them to fall in love with your brand,” Ringling President Larry Thompson says in a release. “Having empathy for your customers, and thinking through what they want most from your service, is something that needs to be woven into the DNA of entire organizations, not just marketing departments. Design thinking enables this cultural shift, and these gentlemen live it and breathe it every day. The lessons they will impart will be invaluable for our attendees and their businesses.”
Other scheduled keynote speakers for the conference include Luc Mayrand, with Walt Disney Imagineering, and Chris Risdon, design director at Austin, Texas-based Adaptive Path, a user experience firm. Visit Florida President and CEO Will Seccombe is also scheduled to speak, on Friday, Nov. 8, about the state's tourism figures.