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The Currency of Experience Has Global Value

November 4, 2018 Financial No Comments Email Email

Research from YouGov on behalf of Priority Pass™, the world’s leading and original airport experience programme, has found that the trend for experience over material goods is global. Surveying over 3,000 people in Australia, China and South Korea, and more than 10,000 globally, the data shows that respondents in APAC all overwhelmingly value shared experiences — which manifests most clearly in the form of holidays.

Key regional currency of experience barometer

  • Cultural holidays overseas
  • Holidaying at home
  • Going out for a meal
  • Catching a film at the cinema
  • Buying luxury items
  • Solo travel abroad
  • Overseas city breaks and weekends away
  • Attending live events
  • Wellness and Spa holidays abroad
  • Watching live sport events

Travel tops the table

  • When it comes to their favourite activities, most people in APAC enjoy long-stay holiday overseas, with 39% enjoy exploring other cultures abroad
  • Additionally, 18% enjoy solo travel, 15% enjoy overseas wellness and spa holidays, and 11% enjoy overseas sporting trips
  • In the average year, 51% of Australians enjoy taking cultural holiday overseas, higher than 38% of South Koreans and 26% of Chinese
  • 44% of people like to holiday at home and enjoy domestic short breaks
  • Only 18% enjoy buying luxury items

Research found that people like taking domestic short breaks, with nearly half of South Koreans and Australians particularly enjoying them at 47% and 49% respectively.

In fact, travel topped the table of their favourite activities with near a fifth (17%) of people in APAC saying they most enjoyed a cultural trip abroad. This was reflected in spending, with people splashing out an average of US$1,437 a year on getting away from it all. This was higher than any other activity and almost more than 50% on what they spent on luxury items, which rung up an average of US$942annually.

Kevin Goldmintz, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific at Collinson, the operator of Priority Pass, commented that globalisation and increased competition in the travel industry had propelled consumer demand for domestic and international travel experiences.

“I have not been surprised by the rise of experiential travel and people wanting to travel better, on a deeper emotional level,” Kevin said. One of the biggest shifts has been the demand from travellers for a more personalised and customercentric experience, and they expect that experience starts even before they get to their holiday destination.”

Kevin stated that this also involved increasing demand for exclusive airport lounge facilities, access to quality restaurants within the airport precinct and luxury services such as massage and gym facilities.

Kevin continued: “The statistics show that experience is definitely king. This tells how highly people value different experiences, especially those that can be shared. We at Priority Pass are proud to play a part in this: our airport experiences offer people even more enjoyment from their time in airports, whether travelling for business or leisure.

“Consumer behaviour is changing. Those companies that are able to offer products and services which respond to the growing investment in the currency of experience will reap the rewards when it comes to customer loyalty.”

Sharing experiences

  • Eating out was the most popular activity regionally (56%)
  • 52% enjoy trips to the cinema
  • 22% enjoy watching live sports events while 19% enjoy health and beauty services (massages, manicures etc.)

Holidays are not the only experiences they enjoy. Around a fifth of respondents in APAC like indulging in health and beauty services (19%) and watching live sports events (22%), while 52% said they like going to the cinema. And at the top of the experiences table, 56% of people across the Asia-Pacific region said they enjoy going out for a meal.

The results suggest that a shared social experience is key to people’s enjoyment, and social media use also adds to the perception of value of an experience. For example, travel for leisure and a trip to the cinema are the activities that were most likely to post about on social media (37% and 33%, respectively) compared to more solitary activities like a fitness session at the gym (13%) or buying luxury items (11%).

And when asked what they’d spend a US$300 cash gift on, almost a quarter of people (23%) in APACwould put it towards a trip away, which is the same percentage globally, while 16% regionally would pay for a special meal with friends and family — in fact, this was the most popular answer in South Korea(24%).

The Next Big Thing consumer futurist, William Higham, said: “People increasingly look for more ‘meaning’ in what they do, therefore possessions are proving less valuable than experiences, and the memories and learnings that we gain from them. And we’ll care more about status updates than status symbols. This will be encouraged by the growing importance of social media across all age groups, since experiences typically offer better opportunities to post photos and updates than products.”

Age really is just a number

  • More than a third of respondents in APAC value culture holiday overseas across the surveyed age groups
  • 25-34s enjoy city breaks abroad the most (28%) closely followed by 35-44s (26%)
  • Near a fifth (18%) enjoy solo travel abroad across the surveyed age group
  • More than a fifth (22%) of 25-34s enjoy attending live events, which is the same as the over 55s (22%)

Priority Pass’s research found that holidays focusing on cultural activities, in particular, are valued across the board regionally: 36% of 18-24s, 34% of 25-34s, 38% of 35-44s, and 37% of 45-54s say going on a cultural holiday abroad is their favourite activity, compared to 45% of over-55-year-olds, which is the highest percentage across the surveyed age groups.

According to the results, 25-34s were most likely to enjoy an international city break (28%), and nearly a quarter of 18-24s (24%) and a fifth of over-55s (18%) were fond of them too. Almost a fifth (18%) of people enjoy travelling alone and this was reflected in spending, with people splashing out an average of US$1,200 a year on solo travel. This was a third more than what they spend on luxury items, which rung up an average of US$900 annually.

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