Hogwarts, Han Solo, and Hatchet Throwing

PROVO, Utah – Jan 10, 2022 – Roaming the streets of Provo, you can find all sorts of places promising exciting experiences: candle-making shops, hatchet-throwing companies, escape rooms, and soda shops. A new class offered by the experience design and management (ExDM) program at the BYU Marriott School of Business—ExDM 490R: Current Trends and Opportunities in the Experience Economy—dives into why these experiential businesses often find success.

ExDM 490R focuses on studying two main aspects of the field of experience design: trends and entrepreneurial opportunities. “The class looks at all sorts of trends in the experience economy,” says Case Lawrence, an ExDM adjunct professor who teaches the class. “In one unit, we study Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme parks. In another unit, we examine the business models and trends behind amusement parks. We also have a unit on the circus and the business plans required for traveling events and concerts, as well as a unit where we discuss related venues in the local area.” 

Ashley Odom, an ExDM senior from San Marcos, California, appreciates that the class explores more than the traditional economy and regular measures of success for business. Instead, the class dives into how and why certain innovative businesses and ideas affect other businesses in the market. “I especially enjoyed our discussion about the strategies used at the Harry Potter and Stars Wars theme parks and how each place penetrated their respective markets,” she says.

Lawrence believes his students’ newfound knowledge of the experiential market will change their own experiences as consumers. “I hope this class opens my students’ eyes to how brilliant some of the businesses around them are,” he says. “I want students to have intelligent discussions about their experiences. When they go to businesses in Provo such as the Wick Lab or Sodalicious, I want them to look at those companies through a business lens and understand why the companies are fun, successful, and appealing to customers.”

In addition to learning about real-life applications of business trends, students in ExDM 490R also learn how to take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities in experiential markets. Lawrence encourages his students to use their newly acquired knowledge to start their own businesses and creative projects. “One of the best parts of the 490R course is that each student comes up with an experiential business idea,” he says. “I personally review all of these projects and give feedback, and several projects from last semester are currently being developed into real businesses.”

As an entrepreneur in the experience economy himself, Lawrence shares real-life experiences with his students that directly relate to concepts in the course. He is the founder of CircusTrix, a worldwide trampoline and extreme recreation park franchise with over 300 locations.

Lawrence’s students love hearing his stories and appreciate that his teaching is grounded in personal experiences. “Professor Lawrence’s stories are interesting and shed light on how the principles we learn in this class and other classes in the ExDM major interact with the real world of business,” says Emme Chipman, an ExDM senior from Pleasant Grove, Utah. “Hearing his real-world applications increased my excitement for the career possibilities open to me in the experience design industry."

Students in ExDM 490R learn about popular attractions in the experience economy, such as Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Students in ExDM 490R learn about popular attractions in the experience economy, such as Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert