I’ve been tracking the trend of “experiences” as an outcome for a while. It fits the post-consumerista world that we now live in where ownership isn’t as important as it was back when I was growing up. FastCo made a big push this year to point out what the Airbnb folks have been promoting as an IRL experience that can be located via a technology platform. One could argue that just sitting and typing is an “experience” you’re paying for — you just didn’t go to airbnb.com to explicitly pay for the space around you.
It does make me think about what the different kind of experiences-that-you-pay-for might be. They include:
- Culinary Tourism: like any travel tour where you go and enjoy something special
- Wellness Tourism: like any travel tour that is specialized
- Oceanliner Cruise: like getting on a boat and being in a captive experience
- Immersive Art Experiences: like Meow Wolf or TeamLab
- Theme Parks: like Disneyland
- Urban Infrastructure Parks: like New York High Line and ones I hadn’t heard of like Atlanta Beltline or Miami Underline or Toronto Bentway
- Music Festivals: like Coachella
- Observation Experience: like Empire State Building or the Coca-Cola London Eye (branded?)
- Museums: like Louvre Paris or MoMA (noting how Beyoncé shot a video in the Louvre and their attendance spiked)
- Escape Rooms: I didn’t know about these but now notice them everywhere. The trend was apparently invented in Japan
- Death Cafés: This is a trend? I hadn’t heard of them but they’re up to 8,802 in 2019
- Branded Experiences: where companies give you one for free like “Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical” or “HBO SXSWestWorld” — one could argue that this is not dissimilar to arguing that a TV show or movie is an experience that’s brought to you by … XYZ.