The U.S. Army War College introduced the idea for VUCA at the end of the Cold War as an acronym for the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of the world we now operate in. VUCA is also a catchall for Hey, it's crazy out there! Today you can add in digital disruption and you can now get VAC'D.
No matter what type out-of-home leisure venue you operate, whether it's community or tourist based, you're getting VAC'D. Today, every out-of-home business is being disrupted by an evolving consumer due to multiple digital, demographic, economic and cultural factors, all changing at an accelerating pace.
Now meet the VUC'Rs - the digital and category disruptors that are rewriting the rules of every category. Think Amazon, Airbnb, UBER, Snapchat and Stitchfix to name just a few.
When it comes to leisure venues, we have all manner of digital technology disrupters slowly chipping away at the out-of-home leisure market pie (see this issue's article How technology is swallowing reality). Technology is changing and that technology is changing us; not just the devices we use, but also how we use those devices in our lives. And that ultimately affects everything from our behaviors, our preferences and our expectations. These technology disrupters that change the way we live include social media such as Facebook, Facetime and Snapchat - why leave home when you can stay in and hangout and socialize with your friends?
Now there's a new social media phenomena called Live Chilling on group video chat apps such as Houseparty, Fam and Kik Messenger that allow you to hang out with a number of friends while sitting in your lounge chair. You can all be multitasking watching some TV show or movie and discussing it in real time. So instead of meeting up face-to-face at some physical third place, the group video apps have created a digital third place where you live chill. Why leave home to visit a restaurant when you can have the meal delivered to you at home with UberEats, Grubhub or Doordash? In fact, if a live chill group all ordered meals from the same restaurant at the same time, they could dine together while each was in their own home. Want to play with your friends? Just stay home with all the massively multiplayer online video games.
And on top of all that, just look around in our own industry. You're getting VUC'D by some new entrant who is disrupting the old FEC model. Do you know who they are? Do you know how they are redefining your category and guest expectations? Just take a look at Punch Bowl Social, TopGolf, Spin, Flight Club and No Other Pub as a few examples.
If you're not thinking about how to evolve and disrupt your own CLV business model or the one your planning to open to become more relevant and compelling to the fast-changing leisure customer and new competition, you'll probably soon find yourself fighting for your own survival.