We have so many things available to us today.  We live in a globalized, interconnected world that allows us to buy just about anything from anywhere.  When it comes to commerce, the planet is truly borderless. But in our consumeristic society, experiences which are not material in form become more material in our appreciation of them, because they are things that money can’t buy — whether it’s going to an exclusive event, scaling a mountain for the first time, or just meeting someone remarkable.

Although, technically, events and adventures are tangible goods, they come with the unexpected.  No two people experience the same happening the same way. It’s like every experience is made just for you — be it from a friend, through a business, or from publisher.

Businesses and brands that understand this individuality are incorporating it into their culture and decision-making processes. They’re not looking to foster loyalty through material goods. They are being creative in how they engage with the me-firsts of the world, so they can provide a much more personalized experience to their customers.

All these unique experiences lead to a deeper loyalty for that brand. Not only does the customer understand and appreciate that the business has taken the time to get to know what their customers are all about, but they’re essentially giving those customers the gift of time — an experiential gift which makes the most of this precious commodity — a gift that customers remember and value long after the experience is over.

It’s time to dedicate a full report to power of experience and the economy that is making hotel guests’ time and lives more fulfilling. We dig deeper into what some hotel brands are doing to serve society’s growing desire for experiences over things.

Forbes Travel Guide

The hotel industry is experiencing massive changes in consumer behavior, customer expectations, and technology. The entire hospitality is now in a state of perpetual transformation as it tries to reinvent itself for a profitable and sustainable future. We reached out to Jerry Inzerillo, the CEO of Forbes Travel Guide from 2014 to 2018, for an expert opinion about how hotels can reinvent responsibly, and capitalize on the Experience Economy.

Forbes Travel Guide’s CEO, Jerry Inzerillo, on reinventing hospitality in the Experience Economy.


Although hotels seem to be holding their own, the growth in alternative accommodation rentals is threatening to escalate an oversupply problem. The lack of regulation and oversight with rental and home-sharing businesses is allowing businesses like Airbnb to offer significantly lower prices. On the other hand, Online Travel Agencies (OTA) continue to capture the attention of more and more travelers and their wallets every year. But as much as these companies offer an authentic local experience and lower prices, they fall short in many other areas.

How OTAs impact traveler trust and bring a silver lining to hotels.

Hotel technology

Spending is shifting quickly from material goods to travel, particularly with millennials – a trend that isn’t expected to change anytime soon. It’s not surprising that every business wants a piece of action in the Experience Economy, and naturally, there’s a lot of competition in the space now. There’s traditional brands that have always been there, but with the addition of digital disruptors like Online Travel Associations (OTA) and alternative accommodation providers like the Airbnbs of the world. In the middle of all this frenzy is a new breed of traveler: a more controlling, more demanding, more informed, and more impatient consumer that holds all the cards. The days of travelers returning again and again to their favorite brands through the pull of loyalty points are fading fast as more and more consumers flip the loyalty equation upside down. So how do we hold onto them?

Using hotel technology to capitalize on the Experience Economy.


Hotels and airlines must focus on individuals, not demographics, in their design of products, services, and communications.  Emphasis on the individual must permeate the entire organization and become an integral part of its corporate culture. Today’s digitally-empowered consumers won’t accept anything less. How can we give them exactly what they’re looking for?

Personalization and quality are the keys to winning over on me-first travelers.

Digital experiences

To survive, let alone thrive, airlines and hotels will need leaders with visions that look far beyond analytics that only tell them what worked yesterday. 21st-century leaders need to be brave pioneers who – as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, Kurt Vonnegut said – “continually jump off cliffs and develop their wings on the way down.” 

One of the first steps in that journey will be the reinvention of their organizations into Experience is Everything (EiE) enterprises.

Digital experiences can make or break a traveler’s brand affinity and loyalty.

Customer Loyalty

For over 200 years, public libraries have been bastions of democracy.  Going beyond offering free, unfettered, and equal access to information, public librarians are staunch advocates for media literacy, continually championing efforts to nurture an informed constituency that will actively participate in the democratic process.

Customer loyalty is built through reciprocity, and will grow your brand's reach and revenue.