In their third of her trilogy of leisure themed blogs, Laura Lyon shares some of her observations and insights from the leisure travel sector.
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There is a trend towards experiential and immersive experiences and we can see this playing out in the travel sector, particularly among younger people.
Live it like a local
There is an appetite to not only see a place but to be immersed within it and to experience it like a local. Services such as Couchsurfing and Air BnB have disrupted the travel market by enabling travellers to stay in the homes of locals. Travellers almost live like a local in the destination they have visited. As Joseph Reaney, Editor-in-Chief of World Words and Travel Writer says, “the joy of staying in somebody’s house is the chance to make some new friends, get some insight into local culture and see another side to a place that you rarely can as a tourist.”
This sort of holidaying generates experiences that are truly unique and memorable. The stories from which are being used as social currency. As Patrick Hulbert, Editor at TheLADbible Group puts it, “people are seeing that their mates/ whoever they see on social media are going here and there and fancy a slice of that pie. And then a bit more of that pie – doing something slightly cooler/quirkier than the last thing they saw.” Air BnB have recently launched tours and learning experiences that involve travellers doing anything from trying their hand at pottery to enjoying a tour of a street market with a local.
Reliance and addiction to technology has led to the coining of the phrase ‘Digital detox’ and the appetite for and emergence of opportunities to switch off.
Although technology has enabled innovation such as Air Bnb, accordingly to Ofcom 59% say they are hooked on a device and 15 million have taken a “digital detox”. Joseph Reaney recognises, “when technology is so all-pervasive in everyday life, many people will feel like they need a holiday from this as much as they need a holiday from work/stressful life admin”.
There are businesses too who have acknowledged there are benefits to have having a break from technology and have developed opportunities to enable people to switch off.
Examples of these include Auradaze restaurant in Leamington Spa who have banned the use of mobile phones, and Digital Detox Holidays who do exactly what they say on the tin, point travellers in the direction of spas and accommodation with no technology policies and remote retreats where there might not even be any mobile phone reception.
Getting back to nature
A Mustard poll reveals 3 in 10 say a main priority for their leisure time is enjoying nature, and The Guardian’s Kate Carter feels, “people are becoming more and more aware of the significance of getting outdoors and into nature. Not just from the point of view of a nicer view, but for the health benefits, which seem to be increasingly confirmed by reports in the media”. This is the case for one of our Mustard Pickles (our community app) respondents, “I feel more alive when out in the middle of nowhere, fresh air and exercise are great stress busters too” (female 45-60).
If you are reading this – and the other blogs in this series – and wondering how to ensure that your organisation fully understands and responds to the changing leisure landscape, then please get in touch. Give us a call or drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the full ‘Market Snapshot: Leisure Time and Travel’ report.