See ATTA's COVID-19 Guide for the Adventure Travel Industry

The State of Experiences with Jim Gilmore

3 Minute Read

On June 4, 2020, Shannon Stowell, CEO of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, hosted a live Campfire Chat with Jim Gilmore. Gilmore is a leading expert on creating customer value through experiential marketing, author of Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills and co-author of The Experience Economy. As services are increasingly becoming commoditized, the adventure travel industry can encourage customers to spend their time and money on experiences—memorable events that engage them in an inherently personal way.

The talk began with a discussion about how time is the currency of experiences, and how people are becoming hyper-aware of how they are using their time. Fees are about more than just the revenue received per guest; consumers are beginning to think the monetary value of each moment with you compared to all the other options they have available in the grand scheme of recreation and travel. Now more than ever, experience design is becoming more competitive.

Then Stowell and Gilmore moved on to talk about disconnecting, or detoxing, from digital devices, and how this phenomenon might affect travel. Especially post-COVID, consumers are connecting to the world even more through their screens; your offering must be compelling enough to bring them to you.

Watch or listen to the one-hour long webinar to hear more about these topics, plus voluntourism, “Gramping,” and how to get your customers back as soon as possible.

We received so many great questions before and during the webinar that it was impossible to discuss them all. Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts to get the conversation going. Here are a few common themes:

  1. What does the money value of time really mean?
  2. How is the industry seeing individuals vs. groups making decisions about experiences (and doing them)? Small-group travel?
  3. With more people working remotely, they can work from anywhere. Will this lead to more sustainable travel activity, such as making a destination better for the locals and focusing on their quality of life? Will it also make it more attractive for those travelers looking for a more immersive experience in a destination?
  4. Thinking beyond individual business opportunities for each of us, what opportunities do we have, collectively, to influence the bigger picture of travel in a positive way?

No Experiences, No Recovery – thought paper by James Gilmore & Joseph Pine
Coronavirus Shut Down the ‘Experience Economy.’ Can It Come Back? – article in the New York Times

Watch the Recording

“The spontaneous creativity coming out of Jim’s brain, like heavy thunder from the sky, kept me glued on to the computer and had sparks of inspiration coming out of my brain!”
– Rafa Gallo, CEO, Rios Tropicales

“I loved that he recognized that what we do is transformative, the ‘Transformative Nature of Travel’ … I loved his concept of Money Value of Time, I’m going to incorporate that into my marketing and work with clients … He got me excited to be imagining and creating when it’s hard to see forward.”
– Robin Francis, Owner, Wild at Heart Journeys (edited)

Professor & Co-Founder of Strategic Horizons LLP

Co-author of The Experience Economy, James H. Gilmore is an author, speaker, and management advisor to organizations throughout the world, helping them go deep on innovative ways to create customer value and new revenue. His latest book, Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills details his personally derived approach for seeing the world and discovering new ideas.

The new ATTA Campfire Chat series brings inspiration and vision from dynamic thought leaders whose areas of expertise inform and guide the adventure travel industry. Along with other efforts to regularly engage the global ATTA community in your remote settings, these short virtual interviews hosted by ATTA executives are designed to provide a brief but thoughtful reflection on issues you are facing now that will affect tourism tomorrow.

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