By Catherine Reynolds, Associate Manager of External Communications, RCI
Today’s traveler is looking to take something new away from their vacation, and that is often taking the form of newly obtained knowledge. They want to see or do something they never thought possible. In fact, there’s a growing case for experiential travel as the new norm. TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer: 2016 Travel Trends study reported that 25 percent of millennials choose their vacation destination because they are able to do an activity that was not possible elsewhere.
Of this same group, 43 percent even reported that they would be willing to spend more on trips that allowed them to visit somewhere on their wish list. While we often hear this said of millennials, it’s not just for the young and single travelers. Globally, 69 percent of all travelers plan to try something new in 2016 according to TripAdvisor, showing that travelers of all ages are looking for new and novel experiences. Experiential travelers are looking for four main things in a vacation: First Hand Experiences, One-of-a-kind Properties, Fully Immersive Vacations and Experiences of the Future. But where can Experiential Travelers experience all four of these amenities? At timeshares across the world, of course!
Grupo Vidanta recently announced the opening of new Cirque du Soleil® themed properties that perfectly provide these types of experiences. Opening in 2018 in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, the properties will be intertwined with a Cirque du Soleil® theme park, where travelers will be able to move beyond spectatorship to become characters within the park’s interactive stage and experience Cirque as never before. An on-site Cirque school takes the experience to new heights and in doing so, travelers will get a taste of what it is like to actually be a part of a Cirque du Soleil performance, an experience that they aren’t able to have anywhere else.
Vacation ownership developers are also creating properties that give travelers a chance to experience accommodations like never before. Karisma Hotels & Resorts capitalized on an opportunity to create Latin America’s only overwater bungalows with its soon-to-open Palafitos-Overwater Bungalows property in Mexico. It comprises 30 elegant suites with spectacular views, glass bottom floors and private infinity pools, as well as beautiful and well-appointed accommodations where guests and members will enjoy awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets. An experience not offered in many locations.
Fully Immersive Vacations
Family vacations have always been in the wheelhouse of benefits for the vacation ownership industry with the additional space and amenities provided at most properties. Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ new Nickelodeon Hotel & Resort Punta Cana property sets a precedent. This upscale resort mixes luxurious amenities with fun-for-the-whole-family experiences centered around Nickelodeon characters. But it’s not all just for kids! Adults can also experience a family vacation without sacrificing luxury and relaxation. The white sand beaches, tropical beverages, and Karisma’s Gourmet Inclusive Experience help ensure that the grown-ups have the vacation they want, too.
Experiences of the Future
As the appetite for experiential travel continues to grow across all population segments, the timeshare industry is perfectly positioned to offer these types of vacations!