Building Experiences in the New Economy

Originally published on November 2, 2021

Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reshaped how audiences engage with the experience economy across different sectors.

Leaders striving to deliver experiences to their community now have to grapple with everything COVID-related, overcome emotional barriers like comfort and deal with risk tolerances simply to engage their audiences.

Starting in 2020, a province wide research study was made available to support decision makers with timely and relevant data. This work builds on those efforts and will allow leaders to have continued access to data to fuel recovery and to inform efforts to rebuild experiences in the ways that align with changing audience expectations and needs.

Key Trends in the Latest Round of Research
  • Comfort wavers yet again under the weight of another wave of cases, hospitalizations, and death.
  • Vaccination rates help mute concerns over safety.
  • The challenging circumstances are fostering a market that is very despondent.
  • Habits are cementing and audiences are latching on to things not impacted by restrictions.
  • Audiences are selecting activities now based first on health & safety considerations. Other factors appear secondary for now.
  • Support is very high (and intense) for vaccine passports.
  • Tensions are beginning to emerge between urgency to engage and being forced to do get a vaccine.
  • Digital tools, the main source of connection early in the pandemic, are more of an engagement tool now.
This is a Community Resource

A prior six waves of research have been completed in a longitudinal study since May 2020.

The initiative is being funded by leaders who see an opportunity to support organizations which bring remarkable experiences to life in communities across Alberta. These include Calgary Arts Development, Edmonton Arts Council, Stone-Olafson, and the ActiveCITY Collective.

New rounds of research are continuing to provide information on this topic. If you have not done so already, sign up at to receive notifications about information sharing workshops and future research endeavours.

Download the full publication:

The cover of Building Experiences in the New Economy: Phase 2 Research Outcomes