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REPORT ttgluxurySeminar CONFERENCE

October 20 ■ The Roof Gardens ■ Kensington, London

Futurist flags rise of ‘experiential’ demand

Tom Parry

LUXURY CONSUMERS are casting aside their “materialistic” needs of the past as they continue to invest in “experientialism” instead. That was the message from one

industry commentator at last week’s ttgluxurySeminar in London. Futurist James Wallman told

delegates he believed the industry would continue to see a shift in the types of activities travellers would want to take part in while on holiday and, in turn, the type of service they would come to expect from their travel providers. Wallman, who is the bestselling

author of Stuffocation, said luxury operators, agents and hotels should see the change in attitudes as “extremely positive”. “You guys in the travel industry

are on the right side of history,” Wallman said. “You can help people to really get the best out of their holiday and themselves.” Wallman highlighted how the


Guests need a ‘digital detox’ option, says retreat operator

James Wallman addresses delegates at the ttgluxurySeminar

pronounced rise in social media use in the 21st century was fuelling the search for “status” among modern consumers. “Back in the 1980s, if you had

been skiing, the only people to know about it were your neighbours. But now social media has flipped that on its head because your peers can follow you all the time. It’s not about what you’ve got – it’s about what you’ve done,” he said.

Wallman’s views were

echoed by Giovanni Donaldson, co-founder of experiential travel company SideStory, which connects experts – known as “insiders” – in fields such as photography and art with travellers looking to learn new skills. “Travellers now want to see cities

in different ways than they have before, and giving them access to

experts enhances their experience,” Donaldson said. “It’s up to us to be able to offer them something they’ve never had the chance to do before.” Founder of Holidaysplease

Richard Dixon agreed, adding: “We have definitely seen a shift away from long-haul, fly and flop to more multi-centre and adventure destinations.” However, Ed Burke, founder of

Seventy Ten Travel, suggested that the increase in experientially orientated trips was also being driven by an older generation. “There’s a big shift towards

experiential travel, but it’s not just around social media. The baby boomer generation are equally up for exploring and ticking destinations off their bucket lists,” he said.

“Now it’s not about what you’ve got – it’s about what

you’ve done” JAMES WALLMAN

Paula Fitzherbert, group PR

director for the Maybourne Group, said: “You often only have 24 hours with a guest, so you have to make every minute count for them.”

TRAVEL PROVIDERS can help their clients and boost business by offering the opportunity to “switch off” from the online world. This was the opinion of Tanya

Digital entrepreneur Tanya Goodin, right, in discussion with ttgluxuryeditor April Hutchinson 10 27.10.2016

Goodin, a digital entrepreneur and founder of new retreat operator Time To Log Off, which provides “digital detox” escapes for clients who struggle to detach themselves from their devices. She told delegates the issue was something the travel industry should seriously consider and described how several of the guests taking part in the retreats had been signed off from work suffering from “burnout”. “It’s been proven that social

media activity in particular creates dopamine, and added to the fact that there are now thousands of software designers trying to make devices easier to use, it’s becoming even harder for people to switch off,” she explained. At the conference, Goodin described how she had founded Time To Log Off, which runs retreats in the UK and abroad, after questioning her own reliance on technology. “Somebody asked me what book

I was reading and I thought,’I haven’t finished a book in two years.’ My concentration span was shot to pieces. It was around that time I

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