06 SEP 2019: Where better to plan a tip-top experience in New York than from the summit of the city’s most famous landmark – the Empire State Building? Starting this fall, visitors will be able to create a personalized trip itinerary at “NYC: Above and Beyond,” a new interactive experience designed to provide personalized travel recommendations to visitors from around the globe – many of whom make the iconic Big Apple attraction their first stop in the city.  

Produced in partnership with the city’s travel marketing arm, NYC & Company, the display will be located on the 80th floor of the building, prompting visitors through an array of questions about their interests and length of stay, resulting in a comprehensive list of recommendations for discovering Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Users can then select their favourites and email or transfer them to their handheld devices. The digital itinerary planning resource also includes a wheelchair-accessible mode and a kid-friendly height making it accessible to all visitors.

“NYC: Above and Beyond” was designed to complement the stunning city-wide views from the 80th floor, enveloping visitors with expansive views of the city they are about to experience, and offer personalized, curated and authentic customer experiences (in nine language), including attractions, restaurants, museums and shows.

The addition is part of the second phase of the larger redevelopment currently taking place at the Empire State Building.

“When the Empire State Building researched for the top-to-bottom redevelopment of its visitor experience, there was a clear call for assistance with itineraries and desire for an all-knowing resource,” said Anthony E. Malkin, chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT), touting the influence of NYC & Company, whose president and CEO Fred Dixon called the project a “truly remarkable reinvention of one of the world's most beloved sites.”

Indeed, “Everyone in the world knows the Empire State Building; she has an emotional connection to all ages and nationalities,” Jean Yves Ghazi, senior VP of ESRT said at the recent IPW travel trade show in Anaheim, California. Moreover, after surveying thousands of guests, 80 percent of whom had made it their first stop in the city, ESRT learned “that a visit to the Empire State Building isn’t just a visit to an observatory, it’s a pilgrimage with deep meaning,” added Ghazi.

However, planners also learned that “we only offer three things: the building, the line and the view,” and that visitors “love the building and the view, but they hate the queue.”

To that end, ESRT embarked four years ago on a US $500-million reinterpretation program for the building “to dramatically enhance the guest experience,” says Ghazi. “We wanted to answer the question, what do visitors who come to New York want to see, feel and experience and how can people fulfil their dreams and expectations?”

To date a number of initiatives have been undertaken to improve the overall visitor experience, including establishing a new dedicated entrance for the observatory, the introduction of online ticketing, improved security screening, new galleries and tour options, a glass elevator, expanded gift shop, and, of course the latest – the NYC: Above & Beyond “best in class interactive visitor centre,” which is paired with VR binoculars that “teleport” guests to a selection of city sights that can be spied.

“This is really a new dawning for the Empire State Building Observatory. We’ve improved every aspect of the experience,” Ghazi says.

Meanwhile, Dixon says NYC: Above & Beyond is just another feather in the cap of New York, which attracted a record 65.1 million visitors in 2018 and is on pace to reach 67 million this year, including 14 million international visitors – tops in the US.

And the key to such ongoing success, he said at IPW, is that “New York never stays the same, the city never stops evolving.”

At 443 metres above Midtown Manhattan (from base to antenna top), the Empire State Building welcomes four million visitors a year and has been called the “World's Most Famous Building.” With new investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the building was named the world's most popular travel destination in a study conducted by Uber and was voted America's favourite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit http://www.esbnyc.com

ESB Exterior Image 2

 

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