Whilst Singapore is the green city of the future, the Gardens by the Bay project is a demonstration of just what can be done when there is a strategic intent and the will to create a unique garden experience. The first time I visited Gardens by the Bay was in 2012, not long after it opened, and I was amazed by the work of the engineers, the botanists, and the landscapers. As I walked around it was pleasing to see exotic species had been brought to the tropics. And Singapore, a place without seasons, had now created a garden where the flowers of four seasons were possible. On my first visit I noted that, understandably for a new garden, many of the plants and trees in the park were showing signs of transplant shock – so it has been pleasing on subsequent visits to see the plants have recovered and are now thriving.
Gardens by the Bay during [left] and after construction [right & below]
A Singapore taxi driver once described Gardens by the Bay as ‘the peoples garden’ and with 50 million visitors – a more accurate description would be hard to find. When I asked him if he had ever visited the Gardens on his days off – he proudly told me that at least twice a year he goes there with his wife to wander around, he informed me, with the natural frugality that is typical of elder Singaporeans, ‘that much of the park is free’.
Gardens by the Bay is also one of the few web-sites that I regularly visit. I like to see what events are coming. The other day I looked at the images shared of ‘Tulipmania’, an annual event where the tulips of Holland are shipped to Singapore and displayed in one of the two giant glasshouses – held late April early May I have Tulipmania on my bucket list.
Gardens by the Bay is a photographers paradise and mobile phones work overtime. It is easy to understand why as throughout the year there are seasonal floral exhibitions, cherry blossoms, Christmas themed displays with Santa and the red Christmas Poinsettias, and landscaping displays. Gardens by the Bay is a great exemplar of planning great events to maintain interest in the destination. Also, from a marketing perspective, Gardens by the Bay provide a textbook example on how to amplify events through social media, they create backdrops for selfies and encourage visitors to share their experiences – even organise Instagram competitions. Plus they create the perfect photo opportunity to accommodate daytime and evening visitors.
A walk through the ‘Cloud Forest Conservatory’, is welcome relief as the temperature [according to my smartphone] was 24 C. It is a cool misty environment with a diverse range of rain-forest plants and a spectacular multi story waterfall. In the traditions of good garden design, there are hidden pockets, garden rooms, and different perspectives which are unveiled by wandering through the conservatory and along the paths and suspended walkways. Spectacular views of Singapore; including the magnificent Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore wheel are available if you can convince yourself to look outside the conservatory.
A walk through the ‘Flower Dome’ introduces over 1000 species of exotic plants from the five continents; including an ancient olive trees all of which could not grow in Singapore’s natural climate. The garden beds are tended with care rarely seen in the botanical gardens of the world, however, they have borrowed some of themes found in botanical gardens including sculptures and the ubiquitous cafe.
Outside is the Supertree Grove designed to give a visual structure to the outside garden, however, I was told that apart from providing much needed shade they also perform tree-like functions and also help collect and distribute water for irrigation and collect solar power to reduce the environmental impact. The Supertrees can be seen in the above images when the gardens were under construction and today when the are soften by virtical gardens.
What is also evident and in keeping with Singapore is that the service is efficient, courteous, and delivered with a smile.
Tasks: Whilst this exemplar may seem like a travel article to encourage you to visit Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay – that is a not necessarily the case the objective is highlight [to marketing students] the importance of managing best satisfying experiences also to motivate marketing practitioners to examine their ‘total product’ and to manage continuous product improvements.
The following questions may propagate discussions:
- Are you a market leader and do you recognise the need to stay ahead of your competitors?
- How do Gardens by the Bay augment their product beyond the traditional ‘city’ gardens?
- Do you need to refresh or rejuvenate your organisation’s offering on a regular basis?
- Can you create a calendar of events to attract [retain, enhance] the interest of your customers?
- Can you amplify your events through social media?