Why no one swims in the world most expensive pool

infinity pool

Guest blog: Morris Pentel, Customer Experience Foundation

A futurologist and designer of customer experience & customer contact strategy. Morris is a globally recognised professional public speaker and writer on the future of contact new technology & strategies running one of the most advanced business science organisations in the world.


It’s the launch of BAT17 Episode 1 – Behaviour* so I came to Singapore. After a very long working week in Singapore I thought it would be a great place to launch Episode 1.

Singapore has a unique approach to customer experience and it shows everywhere you go. It’s a combination of the excessive wow factor and sustainability that I find remarkable. But without a doubt the most remarkable, iconic and (allegedly) expensive experience in Singapore is known to locals as simply “MBS”. The Marina Bay Sands – a hotel, shopping mall and casino complex is supposed to be one of the 3 most expensive experiences in the world. I think that I read somewhere that it cost about $10bn including the land.

The rooftop infinity pool sits astride 3 towers and is breath-taking. The hotel itself is one of the most striking buildings in the world and to use the pool you need to be a guest with a room key. As you step out on the 57th floor it is breath-taking. Once past security you can find a lounger get a towel and settle down.

However, after a little while I noticed one curious behaviour. There were hundreds of people taking thousands of selfies but no-one was swimming. Actually, no-one was really swimming at all. There were a few (like me) who swam a few yards and gave up but no-one did a full length. It was as if they didn’t want to interfere with the picture taking. After a few strokes I felt a certain disapproval amongst residents in the pool.

Don’t misunderstand me please. I am not a swim nut complaining about the lack of respect for swimming etiquette. The reverse is true. I am as bewitched as everybody else. I stood around in the pool taking selfies until the skin on my legs turned to the texture of prunes. Although I don’t like taking selfies and I don’t like standing in a pool I soon found myself conforming to the accepted (but unspoken) norm at this wonderful pool. It is a amazing view and experience and the atmosphere is a million miles away from my local pool.

However, I am also conscious as I write this article that I am also doing Customer Work for MBS. If you’re not familiar with this metric, it’s about measuring when your customers talk about you or provide support to other customers.

Its the basis of the social organisational finance where you use customer experience to amplify your ROI through the efforts of your customers. Some organisations have hundreds of thousands of customers who are acting as unpaid employees.

Of course Apple is the best example of this – fans make youtube vidoes about opening the box with the new products in. The Marina Bay Sands pool selfie is the same thing. Visitors promote the experience and so it becomes more desirable. The pool is a marketing goldmine. In fact the whole MBS Customer Experience is a marketing goldmine. It adds marketing value to every dollar they spend on promotion. CX is not theoretical here it is part of the investment in Brand.

But is Marina Bay Sands the perfect experience?

Who ever thought of this place, the architects and those who built it must have got such a kick from its completion. Or maybe they would just see the small flaws that make it less than perfect.

Which brings me to my point – Marina Bay Sands is not perfect. There are a number of small flaws called tripping points. The check-in process is messy, visually you are constantly being made aware that you are spending money and there are some other things I would fix. But its still amazing. I have met a number of people from MBS and they work on improving it every day. Working on fixing the tripping points – because they are passionate and committed.

If you are not familiar with tripping points here is a short video that explains the science in less than 2 minutes.


Tripping points is a practical approach to CX metrics from Tim Routledge that we feature in Episode 1 – Behaviour of BAT17 (the conference in your pocket), along with 6 other major major ideas and 10 meeting resources you will find useful. These include why small flaws spoil experiences, business transformation culture and a couple of the funniest videos I know.