As part of a study unit, Product and Service Development, Lapland UAS international business students redesigned new holistic and experiential customer journeys in Santa Claus Village to different customer personas/groups e.g. a young couple from Germany, international single travelers, a local family with children, a local entrepreneur and an asylum seeker.
In the experiential and future-oriented co-creation process students were applying theory into practice. Versatile service and experience design as well as foresight tools such as futures windows, experiential customer journey and customer personas were utilized in the process. The brand values of Rovaniemi Christmas Brand and Lapland Above Ordinary Brand were the key sources of inspiration as well as weak signals and students personal experiences of the Santa Claus Village which they shared with others by writing blogs.
As the result six student groups presented innovative ideas how Santa Claus Village could be developed in the future. The head teacher of the study unit, Teija Tekoniemi-Selkälä, as well as other teachers, José-Carlos García-Rosell and Annika Konttaniemi, were fairly impressed with the outcome and findings that students have made.
In students´ idealized future Santa Claus Village has gone through an image reform, and the image is based strongly on both the Rovaniemi Chrismas Brand and Above Ordinary Brand. The contrast between the traditional existing elements and the new storytelling and technology-enhanced experiential elements create a platform where the fantasy and illusion of Christmas can start already at visitors´ home and be fulfilled as an on-site experience in the Santa Claus Village and then continue afterwards when visitors remember and share their experiences off-line and on-line.
In below there are presented some ideas about Future Santa Claus Village:
“In ideal case the actual journey starts from Rovaniemi city center, where ‘Santa’s Express’ has its very own bus stops that is easy to find and identify. The Santa’s Express purpose is only to go back and forth from Rovaniemi city center to Santa Claus Village and that how it is easy to everybody to understand where does it goes and where does it stop. The bus would look inside and outside equally appealing. There would be TV-screens on the ceiling to play northern lights, Christmas music and Santa’ Claus theme used in decoration. The bus ride in itself would be a journey and great memorable experience. In addition to the Santa´s Express, Red Elves´ Bikes, are rented in the city center all-year-round for those who want to explore surroundings in a different way.”
“The Santa Claus Village is clearly defined as an area (with fences or similar) and has a welcoming entrance. It is easy to get around and find places and services with the help of interactive maps and themed signposting and/or even with real elves guiding visitors.”
“Existing stores, where you may get a claustrophobic feeling immediately after you step in, are history. They are replaced by high quality stores which represent Lapland brand values and locality, as well as strong Finnish brands that are well known internationally such as Lumene, Moomin, Rovio etc. And of course all the stores would be built to follow the common theme in the village. Locals can have a Local Loyalty-card which may motivate them to visit the Santa Claus Village more often and bring also their guests there”
“There can be found a Rice Pudding Bar alongside with the Gingerbread Kiosk and a restaurant offering local food products and possibility to make your orders via touch screen tables in the Santa Claus Village. Also the restroom experience has been taken to a whole new level when in the ‘Santa’s Sledge’ restroom toilet seats are shaped as Christmas presents, Christmas music would be played and there would be special area to small kids and newborn babies. The modern technology is widely applied all year around such as 3D light effects, virtual reality glasses and wireless guiding tours.”
“The departure from the village has been made memorable and there are not only signposts thanking for the visit but welcoming them back. Visitors have a possibility to chat with the Santa and his elves afterwards online and continue their Christmas experience.”
The results will be presented and disseminated to the commissioners; Regional development agency of Rovaniemi and Rovaniemi Tourism Marketing as well as to the actors in the Santa Claus Village.