‘Experience Hunters’ prepared to sacrifice material goods to experience the new and unique

Bucket ListBrits will forgo almost everything to enjoy a new travel experience, according to new research revealed by Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Nearly eight out of 10 (79 percent) of these so-called Experience Hunters said they are prepared to sacrifice material goods in order to experience the new and unique. Over half (56 percent) said they would give up designer clothes, phone upgrades (46 percent) and streaming services (44 percent), while more than a third (36 percent) said takeaways.

The study highlights how Experience Hunters are driven to see as much of the world as possible, further evidence of the UK’s growing “experience economy” – a shift in consumer behaviour from buying goods to buying experiences. Nearly two thirds (63 percent) have visited somewhere completely new in the past year, rising to 71 percent for 25-34 year olds. Looking to the future, almost 60 percent of people said that they are likely to visit a country they have never visited before within the next 12 months.

The research also reveals that more than half (54 percent) of the population have a bucket list, with nearly a quarter (23 percent) aiming to tick theirs off by the time they reach 50.

Seeing the Northern Lights takes top spot on the UK’s bucket list (48 percent), but research shows that Experience Hunters also want a taste of the high life. More than a quarter (26 percent) wish to travel on the Orient Express versus 16 percent who want to swim with dolphins. Over a fifth (21 percent) opted for flying first class over 12 percent who dream of trekking the Inca Trail.

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“We are seeing the dawn of a new age of holiday maker who is willing to sacrifice everyday things for new experiences across the globe,” said Andreas Lackner, vice president, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. “In real terms, our research is pointing to 11 million people who will have achieved their bucket list by the time they’re 50 and who truly value those experiences over anything else. We’re thrilled to be in a position to offer guests memorable new experiences as they tick off their list around the world.”

According to the research, the nation’s Experience Hunters try on average three new experiences on a typical break and claim the benefits are invaluable. Almost half (45 percent) say trying a new experience on holiday leads to a more fulfilled life, while almost a fifth (19 percent) claim the benefits continue to be felt once they’ve returned to their everyday lives.

Positive psychologist, Miriam Akhtar, said: “As this research shows, Experience Hunters are benefitting from regular doses of a deeper kind of happiness and well-being benefits that come with a sense of satisfaction from ‘doing’ rather than just ‘dreaming’. Life is short and new travel experiences should be embraced – they add to your well-being. Travel opens up our world, broadening our horizons both metaphorically and literally – leading to new opportunities in life. The benefits to your wellness cannot be underestimated.”

The research also delved deeper into Britain’s ‘experience psyche’ to uncover more about the differences of Experience Hunters across the country:

  • Wrexham is the bucket list capital of the UK with 67 percent of residents having one, followed by Worcester, Cardiff and Newcastle
  • Oxford claims top spot for Experience Hunters with 85 percent of residents expecting to tick off their entire bucket list followed by Gloucester, Coventry and Newcastle
  • Swansea’s inhabitants seek the most adventure, with 19 percent claiming to have 10 or more new experiences on a typical holiday
  • The people of Chelmsford are all about familiarity when travelling, with almost 12 percent admitting they don’t have a single new experience on holiday
  • Birmingham’s residents are the biggest thrill seekers with almost one in five (17 percent) wanting to sky dive and 8 percent have bungee jumping on their travel bucket list
  • Liverpudlians like to take a walk on the wild side as they are most likely to put a safari on their bucket list (30 percent) whereas those in Southampton want to swim with dolphins (25 percent)

Interestingly, when it comes to where people find their inspiration, 43 percent cite television and film as their main source. 18-24 year olds are more than twice as likely (27 percent) to use Facebook for travel inspiration than any other age group.

Surprisingly, despite the rise of the smartphone selfie phenomenon, 68 percent of Brits still use their camera as their ‘go to’ for capturing holiday memories, while 13 percent of 18-24 year olds use a diary to document their adventures.

“For nearly 100 years, across more than 100 countries, we have been helping our guests discover the world and uncover new and unique experiences through travel”, continued Andreas Lackner. “Whether that be travelling to a new country or joining events and experiences through our exciting partnerships including Udderbelly Festival at London’s Southbank and Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival in August, we’re committed to providing our guests with diverse opportunities to create truly great memories.”

The research was carried out by Hilton Hotels & Resorts as part of its Our Stage. Your Story brand initiative. People looking for inspiration for their next travel experience can visit www.OurStageYourStory.com to create a bespoke vision board for their next dream holiday or visit the “Inspiration for Travellers” page for how-to videos and tips to help move their bucket lists to “booked it” reality.

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