And luxury hotels are a huge part of it!
As Sales Manager here at SK Chase, I attend the UK Gift Voucher Conference each year where the latest trends in the industry are being shared. This year there was an exciting speaker on stage called James Wallman. He wrote the book ‘Stuffocation’ and is just about to release another book called ‘Time and How to Spend it: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days.’
His talk was addressing the current shift in buying behaviour that’s moving away from buying stuff to creating experiences that turn into memories instead.
You might have seen movies like ‘Minimalism’ or the series ‘Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up’ on Netflix that all point towards ‘letting go of stuff’.
He talked about a shift in how people value time, the ‘now moment’. How the ‘now moment’ becomes even more precious to us than ever before and about the shift away from spending weekends at shopping centres, to having experiences that turn into stories instead.
During his talk, James Wallman emphasized that ‘memories live longer than things’ and he called it the ‘Experience Economy Revolution‘.
In his blog ‘5 signs of the Experience Economy‘, he references a Barclaycard report, outlining the fact that more money is being spent on experiences than ever before.
• People want to have exciting experiences that they can share on Social Media and they are looking for sources of unique experiences that get a response from their network.
• Western society is reaching ‘Peak Stuff.’ This is the idea that we are getting to a point where we own far more than our needs demand, hence the shift now to experiences.
• 31% of British holidaymakers showed interest in hotels providing experiences for guests such as ice hotels or glamping
• Consumers can now engineer their lives to consume experiences, choosing where they work, socialise and shop by how it makes them feel. This is a ‘curated’ experience of life that can be uprooted and edited as the mood, and trends, take the consumer.
Why am I sharing all this with you?
Well, SK Chase happens to provide software technology that enables luxury hotels to sell their unique experiences as gift vouchers / certificates, that can be given as a gift, or bought for themselves, that can turn into special memories.
Isn’t that pretty amazing!
Together we can co-create those moments and touch other people’s lives.
James Wallman also talked about that people either invest in themselves to make themselves happy or to invest in others and make others happy.
We can compare that with gifting to self and gifting to others.
However he also acknowledged that our current society is constantly switched on and that we actually find it more difficult to enjoy our free time. People are constantly ‘busy as a default response’.
He highlights the difference between ‘dirty time’ vs ‘quality time’. Dirty time meaning constantly checking your phone during your free time and learning how to put the phone on airplane mode or away from the room you’re in, to bring back that quality time again.
Some restaurants are now even introducing a ‘no phone policy’ on the table.
Finally, he also talked about the domino effect of happiness and when we have experiences that turn into stories, they have the power to touch others too.
What came to mind here was the power of reviews or sharing posts on social media – how someone having an amazing experience that turns into a story, can provide the potential for someone else to have an amazing experience too by reading about it on their social news feed or coming across a review on TripAdvisor, Booking.com etc.
It creates a connection between people who maybe don’t even know each other.
So when one of our luxury hotel clients is creating a gift voucher for an experience at their hotel, they can keep in mind the ripple effects of someone having an amazing experience and how their unique experience not only stays with people for life, but also has the power to touch others.