Choosing Experiences Over Things

August 13, 2023

Experts in the retail industry are saying consumers are more interested in experiences & travel than consumer goods. Even in the present economic climate, discretionary spending is being allocated to travel and local activities.

This backs up the claims of a RetailWire article that was published in 2019. In it, the article spoke about how 76% of consumers would rather spend their money on experiences. A CNBC article back in 2016 called out Millennials for prioritizing personal experiences and “showing them off in pictures.” They said it was a trend fueling business models like Uber and Airbnb. 

Clearly this is a trend that has some staying power. And for good reason. Great experiences, especially while traveling, make for lasting memories and immediate happiness. These memories and feelings can last a lifetime – the same can’t really be said for purchased goods, which can break or wear out. 

Another major factor to consider is that the world is now in the aftermath of a global pandemic. With so much of the world having gone through lockdowns, it should be unsurprising that people want to get out of their homes just for the sake of being outside. Sure enough, industry experts have begun noting a sudden surge in what they call “revenge travel”. People want to get out of their homes and make up for the time lost with experiences while they still can.

Buying Happiness

Research shows that there is a notable correlation between personal happiness and experiences. In a study conducted at the University of Texas, participants were assigned to a material group or an experiential one, and their behavior was monitored as they made purchases based on their group-type. They quickly observed that no matter the cost of the purchase, happiness was significantly higher for participants who consumed experiential purchases. 

Another rising trend has been that of Honeymooners asking for financial contributions toward activities during their travels. This trend has been on the rise ever since Millennials began delaying their home purchases. Without the need to stock a new home with investments of nice dinnerware and linen sets, young couples have turned their attention to traveling and experiences. The same can be said for those marrying later in life and already possessing many of those household items. 

Go ahead, and take a peek at almost any wedding registry on platforms like The Knot or Zola, and you’ll likely find more requests for gifting toward honeymoon activities than for silverware and sheet sets. When forced to choose between horseback riding on a beach or getting a set of wine glasses, more and more couples are choosing the former.

Seizing Opportunities

With travel being prioritized, it should come as no surprise that the experiences during these trips are taking priority as well. After all, there might not be another time to revisit some places or experience something with the same group of people again. This “Carpe Diem” mentality has caught on with Millennials, who take roughly three times as many airline flights during a 12-month period as the Baby Boomer generation. 

With the offerings of OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) becoming more affordable in the past decade, experiences have become more available than ever. Combine that with the rise of social media and peoples’ love to share FOMO-worthy travel selfies of engaging in unforgettable experiences with friends and family, and it’s no surprise that the demand for bookings, adventures and experiences has skyrocketed. 

As guests continue to prioritize travel ahead of other goods, vacation rental hosts and managers should make the most of this opportunity by offering these experiences to their guests throughout their stay. By adding bookings and reservations for services and activities, vacation rentals can stand out amongst an increasingly crowded marketplace. What better than to partner with a service provider that can make these arrangements seamlessly?

Localbird is gaining a reputation among short-term rental hosts and vacation rental managers for making it easy to offer experiences to their guests. Incoming travelers no longer have to worry about finding the best local providers. Hosts can take care of that now by partnering with Localbird, which finds and vets the best local vendors offering the most popular experiences. 

To learn more about this partnership, go here.

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