In Saturday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reporter Sandra Eckstein wrote about the explosion of experiential vacations among the travel and leisure industry, claiming that the newest status symbol is experiences.
Eckstein explained that credit card companies were some of the first organizations to recognize that people want experiences on their time off. She provided as examples Diners Club's recently-launched Ultimate Experiences, "... which allows customers to spend membership points on becoming a rodeo clown for a day or taking a tandem skydive", and American Express' program for its Blue Card holders that allows them to use points to " ... access an auction site and bid on experiences like meeting Sting backstage after a concert or taking private surfing lessons with champion Kim Hamrock."
She also highlighted a company called the Experience Store, which opened a few months ago in New York. The company, run by Kevin Smith, helps plan experiential vacations for its clients.
"Smith's catalog of experiences includes vineyard hopping across Tuscany in Italy on a hot-air balloon at $1,000 a day or taking a submarine down to the sunken Titanic for $36,000 per person ... his company [also] offers a drive through the Alps in a Porsche, three days of cooking classes at an elegant hotel in Italy or a chance to float in zero gravity in an airplane."
Eckstein quotes Pamela Danziger of research firm Unity Marketing about the reason behind the increase in the interest in experiences:
"It's realizing that all the 'things' in the world aren't going to make you happy. It's doing things with other people, sharing experiences with those you love, learning new things. That's where people get their greatest luxuries now."
Of course, long-time readers of Decent Marketing already knew this. But I know you enjoy hearing about the increased traction experiences are getting in the marketplace, so I wanted to make sure to share this article with you.