Behind the Shift From Experiential to Transformative Travel

Behind the Shift From Experiential to Transformative Travel

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Skift Take: Skift’s latest research shows a clear shift in demand for more transformative travel experiences among upscale travelers, but we expect many brands will jump on this trend without offering anything significantly new in terms of product or programming.

— Greg Oates

Joe Pine and James Gilmore co-authored “Welcome to the Experience Economy” in Harvard Business Review in 1998, which they followed up in 1999 with the bestselling book, “The Experience Economy.”

Their central theme emphasized that businesses have to provide a more visceral, more memorable experience to engage the next generation consumer effectively, whereby the memory-making process becomes an embedded part of the product or service delivery. That sparked the birth of modern customer experience management, and it ushered in a tidal wave of mainstream marketing that repositioned everything as “experiences.”

Today, Pine suggests that the next logical evolution of the experience economy is the transformation economy.

“We’re now going beyond the experience economy to what people are calling the ‘transformation economy,’ where an experience changes us in some way during a particular moment in time,” he says. “When you can easily design the experience to be so appropriate for a particular person, and exactly the experience that they need at a particular moment in time, then it becomes easier to deliver a life-transforming experience.”

Pine’s chart below shows the linear progression from experiential to transformative products and services driving marketing strategy today.

“That’s the transformation in the travel industry right now,” says Pine. “We’re now using experiences as the raw material to guide people to change and evolve.”

It’s a shift among next generation travel brands from focusing on the external journey, he explains, to identifying the traveler’s internal journey, which can be as lofty or as simple as the individual customer deems transformative.

That aspiration can range anywhere from desiring to be a more creative person to being a better mom, so travel brands have an opportunity to support that evolution in innumerable ways.

Critics, however, are eager to point out that personal transformation has always been inherent in travel. They argue that the transformative travel trend is more marketing-speak than anything else, forcing the theme upon a consumer market always hungry for the next new thing.

The obvious danger here is that there will be no shortage of brands adopting the transformative travel narrative, without integrating any real opportunities for personal enrichment into their products and programming beyond the norm — just like hotel companies have been accused of greenwashing their sustainability messaging.

“That’s why I haven’t made a big deal about transformative travel yet,” says Pine. “People ask, ‘When are you going to write a book on the transformation economy?’ Well, the world isn’t ready for it yet. It is a very intimidating word, but it is in fact what people are just naturally increasingly looking for, because people are always looking for things that affect them in some new way.”

“The transformation economy isn’t pitted against the experience economy, it is the natural evolution of it, borne out of the increasing desire of the consumer to satisfy the highest tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: self-actualization,” says Claudia Roth, founder and managing director of the London-based Soul Luxury consultancy firm.

“In the experience economy, businesses and brands curate memorable encounters, thus the experience becomes the product,” she continues. “In the transformation economy, consumers are seeking more than mere experience. They crave something meaningful to which they can connect on the most personal level, and in doing so, undergo an actual sense of transformation.”

Skift Research Data

According to Skift research in February 2017, polling 1,350 upscale travelers: 54.3 percent of respondents ranked the importance of transformative travel experiences as 7 out of 10 or higher.

Another question in Skift’s research sought to discover and define any significant shift in demand for more transformative travel experiences in 2017.

According to the data below, 52.8 percent of respondents reported that they now value transformative travel experiences somewhat or significantly more than they did 3-5 years ago.

“Luxury travel will become a much more personal experience, where travel experiences within the luxury sector will be measured by personal value,” says John Hitchcox, COO of Yoo Hotels & Resorts. “Exotic destinations will still be of interest but the deciding factor will be the potential result in personal change and transformation, with so much choice on offer within the luxury sector.”

Hitchcox also suggests that hotels and destinations that can support a guest’s transformative journey have a greater opportunity to build long-term loyalty.

“Transformative travel results in a much deeper, personal attachment to the destination, or hotel or resort,” he says. “Emotional attachments lead to much higher consumer engagement, even after guests have returned home.”

Tina Edmundson, global brand leader at Marriott, adds: “With all of the distractions and unpredictability of travel, and today’s overscheduled and always-on culture, travelers are evolving to incorporate smaller transformative moments into their travel. We are seeing people around the world regain control of their time and routine, and realign their priorities to put their well-being first.”

This is an excerpt from a Skift Trends Report, produced in partnership with International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM). The report explores the many disruptions in luxury travel where tired narratives about what upscale travelers want no longer suffice. The very definition of “luxury” is nebulous today, meaning different things to a widening arc of customers with myriad psychographic profiles, age brackets, and personal lifestyles, emerging from a continually expanding range of source markets.

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May 2, 2017 at 08:06AM

Reconfiguring the Urban Landscape through Lighting Design with Tillet Lighting Design Associates

Reconfiguring the Urban Landscape through Lighting Design with Tillet Lighting Design Associates

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In a city that never sleeps, how do you design for the dynamics of spaces in both day and night? As a part of the Design Trust Council Spring 2017 programming series, “People Who Make Public Space,” we were invited to an exclusive, behind-the-scenes studio tour at Tillett Lighting Design Associates, one of country’s renown lighting design companies, based in Lower Manhattan office. The convivial evening was joined by representatives of city agencies, design industry and cultural institutions, and filled with conversations about the works and challenges of being a lighting designer.

Image via Tillett Lighting

Born and raised in New York City, founder and principal Linnea Tillett has always been fascinated by streetscapes and the public realm. Inspired by her early lighting design work in private housing, she found that clients were often unable to articulate the kind of lighting they want and why. For example, the quality of light one desires could be a result of childhood memories: parents turning off all the lights one by one to save energy at night. These common experiences inspired her to pursue a doctorate in environmental psychology, where she studied the close-knit relationship between lighting design and psychology. Currently, the office is involved in wide range of public and private projects that explore the perceptual, behavioral and psychological effects of light.


Just like architects design “white spaces,” Linnea’s work celebrates “dark spaces.” She continually scrutinizes the meaning of night as space, as it is neither somewhere you can walk in and out of, nor is “night time” exactly determined by time. In other words, designing for the dark is to acknowledge the constant transformation of how this realm is being used and perceived, and to create an atmosphere for the these dynamics. Furthermore, when considering dark spaces, people are often impacted by their own emotional history. One of Linnea’s biggest challenge was to help clients identify the source of their fear of darkness. As Linnea put it, “fear trumps everything” and designing against fear often becomes the main objective of her work.

This aspect of lighting design is especially prominent in New York City. Tillett Design is working in parallel with the Design Trust to explore ways to revitalize spaces under elevated transportation infrastructure. The design initiative was first conceived by the Design Trust, who called together an interdisciplinary team of fellows to compile a study to inform the designs, programming and policies of these valuable urban spaces. Linnea walked us through an El-Space pilot study installation at Livonia Avenue, conducted in collaboration with the Department of Transportation. The team proposes to apply reflective paint and add lighting fixtures to the vertical elements of the bridges. The design not only captures light in these underlit spaces, but creates a sense of warmth and safety for the neighborhood.

Image via Tillett Lighting

When designing for urban spaces, crime and safety is often one of the main considerations. Linnea recalled her experience working with traffic engineers to determine why users feel scared despite lighting metrics show that light levels are up to the appropriate standards. She considers pedestrians concern with facial recognition and wayfinding, and a simple shift from measuring horizontal luminosity from ground to vertical luminosity from eye level did the job.

Image via Tillett Lighting

When asked about the role of color in her lighting design, Linnea introduced her recent project for The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. She shared her sentiments of the abyss between designers and clients, the former favors white lights while the latter desires more eye-catching colored lights. Nevertheless, Linnea was successful in educating her clients on the variation of play and effect natural lighting can offer. For example, the array of ambiance between moonlight and the light hearth from a hearth. In this project, the team pays homage to history by emulating the greens and orange tint of bonfires and torches that ancient Greeks used to illuminate the structure.

behind-the-scenes-tillett-lighting-design-associate-office-tour-the-parthenon-nashville-perspectiveImage via Tillett Design

Linnea’s work not only explores the relationship between architecture, lighting and landscape, but also navigates between psychological and perceptual spaces. While dealing with realities of budgets and codes, her work continues to revel in the quality of light and celebrate the poetics of dark.

Next, check out What Lies Beneath: The Design Trust for Public Space Seeks to Transform the Spaces Under NYC’s Elevated Infrastructure

 Brooklyn Bridge, Design Trust for Public Space, The Parthenon – Nashville, Tillett Lighting Design Associates

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May 2, 2017 at 08:05AM

Cheap Flights and More Reasons I’m Signing Up for 100K with BA

Cheap Flights and More Reasons I’m Signing Up for 100K with BA

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Recently, a new offer was announced for the British Airways Visa Signature Card: Earn 50,000 avios once you use your card for $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn an additional 25,000 avios after you use your card for an additional $10,000 in purchases, and another 25,000 avios once you spend a total of $25,000 on your new card within the first year.

In case you’re not keeping track, that’s a total of 100,000 British Airways avios for spending $25,000 on your card within 12 months.

Related: How I’m Meeting a $10,000 Minimum Spending Requirement in Three Months

While this card does come with a $95 annual fee, the perks and additional rewards can more than make up with it. Here are five reasons to seriously consider this offer:

British Airways Visa Signature Card
British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now

Add to Favorites

$95 annual fee
Earn 50,000 bonus Avios
after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Terms Apply.
Read Review »

Already have this card? Track it and maximize your rewards.

British Airways Visa Signature Card British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Apply Now
Add to Favorites
Sign Up Bonus
$95 annual fee
Earn 50,000 bonus Avios
after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee

Already have this card? Maximize your rewards.

Read the FTG Review »

You Can Still Score Cheap Domestic Flights

While the BA program was devalued last year, you can still score some pretty cheap domestic flights. Keep in mind that short-haul flights within the U.S. still cost just 7,500 miles per leg plus taxes and fees. If you around the country frequently, you could make your 100,000 points stretch far.

You’ll Get A Travel Together Ticket Good for Two Years

Every year you spend $30,000 on your card, you’ll qualify for a travel together ticket that lets your companion fly free when you pay with miles. Keep in mind, however that the fees on this perk can be outrageous! According to British Airways, “taxes, fees and carrier charges are approximately $682-$1250 per adult in economy or $1250 in business class based on travel from Seattle to London.”

Related: Is British Airways’ Travel Together Ticket Still Worth Getting?

No Foreign Transaction Fees

You don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees when you use your card for purchases made overseas. This will save you an average of 3-5 percent compared to cards that charge that fee.

You Can Use Your Miles for Hotels

While this isn’t always the best option, I’ve done it before. Really, you can find some pretty sweet deals on hotels by searching through the British Airways travel portal.

Hotels in Montego Bay, Jamaica start at around 6,000 avios per night this summer, with the cheapest all-inclusive resort in the area (Grand Pineapple Beach in Negril) going for just 22,000 avios per night in August.

People will say I’m crazy for looking at hotels with avios, but don’t knock it til you try it! I’ve booked $300 per night hotels with around 15,000 avios before.

This Card Isn’t Subject to 5/24

Lastly, data points show that the British Airways Visa Signature card is likely not affected by the Chase 5/24 rule. In other words, you may be able to qualify for this card if you’ve had more than 5 new credit cards within the past 24 months. On the flip side, however, keep in mind that this card will count against you if you apply for other cards with Chase that do fall under the rule.

 

Are you getting the new British Airways 100K offer? Why or why not?

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May 2, 2017 at 08:02AM

12 Outdoor Art Installations Not to Miss in NYC in May 2017

12 Outdoor Art Installations Not to Miss in NYC in May 2017

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Chihuly at the New York Botanical Gardens in The Bronx on April 13, 2017 (Photo By Ben Hider)

The month of May is filled with color, from the blooming of cherry blossoms, to a host of ambitious outdoor art installations, that take viewers from parks to rooftops. This month, Chihuly returned to the New York Botanical Garden, and an exhibit on goats grazes throughout Socrates Sculpture Park. The Public Art Fund continues its 40th anniversary celebration with the mesmerizing installation, Descension, by Anish Kapoor, and the city enjoys a host of installations associated with NYCxDesign. This month’s installations are spectacular in size, from large to miniature.

Here are 12 not to miss in the month of May.

12.  Descension by Artist, Anish Kapoor at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Video of Anish Kapoor’s Descension, when installed Versailles, will come to Brooklyn Bridge Park

As part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Public Art Fund, the London-based artist, Anish Kapoor, will install his exhibit entitled, Descension, at Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Kapoor’s interest in the sculptural potential of water led to the creation of this site-specific installation, which measures 26 feet in diameter. The liquid mass converges in the center – creating a mesmerizing, continuous water spiral, funneling into a black hole, made even more dramatic by the treatment of the water with an all-natural black dye. The installation, Descension, has traveled the globe, however this is the first time it will be seen in North America.

Associated with this installation will be Spring 2017 Talks at The New School on May 3rd. Descension, which is also part of this years NYCxDesign, will be on view from May 3 to September 10, 2017 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1.

View all on one page

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May 2, 2017 at 07:02AM

News: Dirks steps up as Eurowings chief executive

News: Dirks steps up as Eurowings chief executive

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Thorsten Dirks has taken office in Cologne as an executive board member of Lufthansa and chief executive of Eurowings. He takes over what is currently Europe’s fastest growing airline.

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May 2, 2017 at 06:42AM

News: Alitalia set to enter administration as staff reject deal

News: Alitalia set to enter administration as staff reject deal

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Alitalia will enter bankruptcy proceedings after staff at the Italian flag-carrier rejected a restructuring plan. In the short-term the carrier’s flight schedule will continue to operate as planned, as administrators examine whether the airline is viable.

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May 2, 2017 at 06:42AM

Home-sharing sites are targeting business travellers

Home-sharing sites are targeting business travellers

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BUSINESS travel accounts for about a third of total travel spending in America, according to the U.S. Travel Association, an industry group. But Airbnb, a private firm which is probably the world’s second most valuable hospitality provider after Marriott, gets less than 10% of its business from people travelling for work. As the San Francisco-based company continues to expand, it’s pretty clear whom it will be targeting.

This week Airbnb is rolling out a new tool specifically for business travellers to book home rentals. All listings deemed “Business Travel Ready” (BTR) feature free Wi-Fi, a desk, soap, shampoo, a hairdryer, an iron and check-in with a doorman (or a digital lock). In other words, all the basic amenities of a hotel. The tool also allows companies to track their spending, receive invoices directly, and manage employees’ itineraries.

Even if it is still principally for vacationers, Airbnb has seen a surge in business travel use in the past several years. The company says that the number of business stays booked through the site tripled last year. It claims that employees of more than 250,000 companies now use Airbnb for work travel. That has spooked traditional hotels. Some have taken to imitating the home-rental service: earlier this year, Marriott unveiled a new suite concept that looks an awful lot like the sort of multi-bedroom apartment that can be booked via Airbnb.

For most business travellers, the new booking tool will not make much of a difference. It was already easy to seek out rentals suitable for business—to screen out, with a single click, bedrooms in shared houses or units without Wi-Fi. But it may go some way toward assuaging their employers. According to a survey from the Global Business Travel Association, 70% of corporate travel policies do not explicitly allow employees to use home-rental services. By centralising the process for booking and payment, and perhaps by giving the Business Travel Ready stamp of approval, Airbnb might persuade some wary managers that it is as reliable an option as a hotel.

The trend toward home-sharing is hardly unique to Airbnb, or to America. Last week, Xiaozhu, dubbed “China’s Airbnb”, announced its own class of rentals suitable for business travel. These have similar criteria to BTR—properties must have 24-hour check-in and an internet connection—but differ in one important way: they must also be within a 10-minute walk of public transport. Xiaozhu is newer and smaller than its American rival, but already has a higher share of its bookings coming from business travellers: 15%, according to its chief executive.

Airbnb has its skeptics in the business travel world. Craig Fichtelberg, the president of AmTrav Corporate Travel, published an article earlier this month in Business Travel News under the headline “Business Travelers Expect Consistency That Airbnb Can’t Deliver.” Whether it is daily clean sheets and towels, a dry-cleaning service, a gym or a bar, argues Mr Fichtelberg, ”hotels around the world have established a standard they all must maintain in order to attract business travelers”.

Some business travellers will always prefer such dependability: a good hotel will always be the safer route to comfort. But for people who are on the road for long stretches at a time, the most persistent affliction can be a kind of homesickness—missing the ability to cook breakfast and dinner, to chat with neighbours, to experience a home’s quirks and personality that even the finest hotel rooms lack. For these road-weary warriors, home-rental sites might be an increasingly attractive option. At least, Airbnb is betting that they will be.

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May 2, 2017 at 06:06AM

Denied Boarding in Europe: My Worst Travel Day Ever, Pt. 2

Denied Boarding in Europe: My Worst Travel Day Ever, Pt. 2

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Last year my mom and I were denied boarding on a flight from Rome, Italy (FCO) to Boston that was operated by Alitalia on a TAP Portugal-issued ticket. There is a European regulation, EU261, that outlines compensation requirements for delayed and canceled flights as well as denied boarding situations and I’ve been working on a claim since Fall 2016. Here is the update.

My first action was to submit a claim through GetAirHelp. This service helps the claim process because they do it all the time and handle the communication with the airline. Unfortunately, when the airline chooses not to respond GetAirHelp’s next course of action is to determine if the case can go to court. They’re still working on determining that.

I had heard good things about FlightRight from a friend, so decided to give them a try too. FlightRight is another service that does the same thing. Unfortunately, they came back and told me they couldn’t help with my case.

Next, since a friend of mine had a contact at Alitalia, I decided to reach out directly. There has been a lot of back and forth between Alitalia, TAP Portugal, and myself on this email thread. Both airlines are still insisting that it’s the other airline’s fault (go figure).

Alitalia has offered both my mother and I $500 vouchers for travel on Alitalia as long as I sign an agreement that I will no longer pursue EU261 compensation (which would be 600EUR each, cash). TAP Portugal has offered to refund the amount of the unused ticket.

I’m debating if I should take the compensation offer or keep pushing for more. On one hand, I know that we should be able to get the full EU261 compensation. But on the other, this has been going on for almost eight months and as much as I like writing articles about it, I’m kind of over it at this point.

 

Would you keep pushing Alitalia and TAP Portugal for compensation or would you settle for a voucher and partial refund and let it go?

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May 2, 2017 at 06:02AM

Publications: Breaking Travel News Special Edition – WTTC Global Summit 2017

Publications: Breaking Travel News Special Edition – WTTC Global Summit 2017

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Breaking Travel News reports from the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Bangkok Thailand as hospitality leaders gather for the event. High on the agenda are the importance of sustainability to the sector and the rapid growth of Indian tourism.

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May 2, 2017 at 05:38AM