Experiential Travel: towards a rediscovery of the value of time and memories

Who is the new luxury traveler? According to a Capgemini-Merril Lynch report they are a global group of around 14 million High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs). Most of them are in their forties and are increasingly aware of their travel choices. They give a lot of importance to family and friends and to the possibility of spending increasing time with them. Their aspiration? Finding a balance between work and personal life. Compared to the generation of the 1980s and 1990s they prefer accruing and sharing unique experiences to the possession of material goods.

Indeed, the concept of luxury, less and less tied to material goods, has evolved and today is synonymous with passions, personal satisfaction and experiences. In addition to this, another important characteristic emerges: luxury holidays are chosen because they are elegant and exclusive. In this sense, the manifestation of a new search of the “Self” reveals itself within the consumer experience itself; this today is sought above all in high quality goods and services, for which mere consumption and ostentatious possession is no longer a source of benefit: luxury and its qualities must be the bearers of unique and personal experiences.

However, the value of experiential travel isn’t the sole purview of HNWIs but of the Millennial generation as a whole. Indeed, …Millennials not only value experiences, but they are increasingly spending time and money on them: from expeditionary pursuits, to cultural experiences and culinary journeys and everything in between. For this group, happiness isn’t as focused on possessions or career status. Meaning in their lives is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences that span the spectrum of life’s opportunities and money is a mere tool to achieve this.

A survey conducted by Harris Insights & Analytics supports this with more than three in four millennials (78%) choosing to spend money on an experience over purchasing luxury goods. Millennials want to spend their money and share their experience with others believing experiential travel will connect them at a deeper level with their family and friends.

These findings find logic in the economic law of scarcity. Living in a time in which it is possible to own almost anything we want, 24 hours a day, and with a simple click of a mouse, material ownership becomes less valuable and is replaced by rediscovery of the value of time (which is finite and irreplaceable) and the creation of unique experiences.

Much like education, so too experiences and memories cannot be taken away once obtained. Unlike material possessions, they withstand the test of time and enrich not only our personal lives but those whom we choose to share them with.


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