Currency of experience has global value

SINGAPORE, 22 November 2018:  Given options people will choose a travel experience over material goods, claims research from YouGov conducted for Priority Pass, a global operator of airport lounges, restaurants and spas.

Surveying over 3,000 people in Australia, China and South Korea, and more than 10,000 globally, the data shows that respondents in Asia-Pacific all overwhelmingly value shared experiences, which manifest most clearly in the form of holidays.

When it comes to their favourite activities, most people in Asia-Pacific enjoy overseas long-stay holidays with 39% enjoy exploring other cultures.

It’s ahead of shopping as only 18% said they enjoy buying luxury items.

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

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.

Travel topped the table of their favourite activities with near a fifth (17%) of people surveyed in Asia-Pacific saying they most enjoyed a cultural trip abroad.

This was reflected in spending, with people splashing out an average of USD1,437 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 USD942 annually.

Collinson’s Priority Pass executive vice president Asia Pacific, Kevin Goldmintz, said globalisation and increased competition in the travel industry had propelled consumer demand for domestic and international travel experiences.

“One of the biggest shifts has been the demand from travellers for a more personalised and customer-centric experience, and they expect that experience starts even before they get to their holiday destination,” he said.

“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 Asia-Pacific 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 USD300 cash gift on, almost a quarter of people (23%) would 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 Asia-Pacific 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.

About the research
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 10,188 adults in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Mexico, India, US, China, South Korea and Russia. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28 August to 8 October 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been given an even weighting for each country to produce an ‘average’ value.