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GenZ and TikTok: a game-changer for visitor attractions?

Younger generations are increasingly demanding more meaningful and content-driven experiences

Opinion
Immersive Mona Lisa

By Thibault PaquinCelebrating Life

A recent visit to the Mona Lisa immersive exhibition in partnership with TikTok got me thinking about what brings together the epitome of fine art and the latest social media phenomenon, and how this will likely impact the visitor attractions industry.

Instagram and the millennial generation brought us a wave of selfie museums (from ice cream to chocolate and candies) and 3D mapping art experiences (Lumières series, Alive series), supported by a huge appetite for experiences and self-indulgence. But now, GenZ and their favourite social media network TikTok are possibly calling for something else.

GenZ-with-phones

GenZ is generally more concerned about values and purpose than previous generations. Experiences are as important to GenZ as they are to millennials, however, these need to be transformative, and more meaningful.

Transparency & co-creation are key

Born between 1995 and 2010, GenZ is a generation of young adults (sometimes parents of young children themselves), who are digital natives and know what they want. Above all, GenZ values transparency and co-creation – something which TikTok is built on.

So, what does it mean for visitor attractions? It’s good news for iconic institutions, who are increasingly using TikTok to connect with new audiences and spark their curiosity, whether it’s to view art, see something unusual, or learn about history. The #museum hashtag inspires huge video creations around the world on TikTok, which are proving popular with GenZ viewers and beyond.

TikTok

It also means there is room for new products that put purpose and content at the heart of their concepts.

This is the case with the Mona Lisa immersive exhibition. This is an ambitious new format which offers a convincing alternative to 3D mapping art experiences. It is still 100% digital but much more content-driven. The exhibition is not just visual content but art and history too.

This is produced by Grand Palais Immersif with the intention “to provide an artistic experience, and explain a work, artist or movement, by offering a viewpoint and keys to understanding, arousing emotions whilst remaining scientifically based.”

It is an invitation for young visitors to participate in the discussion about art. They can also produce their own content in reaction to the exhibition.

Small is Beautiful, TikTok, and GenZ’s demand for quality content

Now, let’s take a look at another recent exhibition, Small is Beautiful. This takes inspiration from the success of miniature art on social media. The exhibition turns this trend into an art-driven (not selfie-driven) show promoting an emerging group of artists, the majority of whom are members of the GenZ. It is built on values such as co-creation and eco-responsibility (in relation to the low impact of miniature art).

For the first time, visitors get to experience in “real life” what they might have discovered on social media. 

Building on its success in Paris, the exhibition recently opened in London. Ironically, it is at the same venue as a selfie-style museum, Dopamine Land. I would be curious to see which one drives more visitors, especially among TikTok-loving GenZ. And if Small is Beautiful is the winner? Well, that might be a sign that we, as attraction designers and operators, need to reassess our overarching intention and the quality of the content we want our audience to engage with.

Top image © Mardi8, Artisans d’idées

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Thibault Paquin

Thibault Paquin

Thibault Paquin is the founder and CEO of Celebrating Life, a destination consultancy firm which provides independent consulting, development and project management services for companies in the leisure and entertainment industry.

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