EVP, Chief Content Officer and General Counsel
I never really liked receiving gifts, especially physical ones. I would rather be the giver rather than the receiver and I would much prefer the gift to be experiential.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate that the most precious gift one can receive is the gift of time. Time is a precious commodity because a) we never have enough of it, and b) we face too much information on a daily basis that wastes our time and detracts us from doing what we want to do — what we need to do.
The other thing I like to do is to surprise people. I'll never forget when I flew to my hometown to surprise my grandmother on her 75th birthday. The reaction that she had, and the pleasure that I got from seeing her so excited is something that I can vividly remember and that was 20 years ago.
These unexpected surprises and delights almost elevate your perception of the gift that you are receiving. And those experiences stay with you.
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. In fact, experiences have become a new currency. So, this issue is all about EXP.
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.
In this me- first world, 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 mes 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 do I understand and appreciate that they know me, and really get what I am all about, they give me the gift of time — an experiential gift which makes the most of this precious commodity — a gift that I will remember and value long after the experience is over.
In this issue of The Insider, we’ll dig deeper into what a number of hotel, airline, and publishing brands are doing to serve society’s growing desire for experiences over things — such as Cathay Pacific’s
Marco Polo Artmap program and Financial Times’ The Future of Britain initiative.
This is a very special issue for me because every single article in it is one in which I have a personal connection. Not only have I worked in both the travel and publishing industries, I’m an avid reader of media, a frequent flyer that has traveled the world, and a welcomed guest in hundreds of hotels.
I’ve been at the receiving end of many unique and memorable experiences from all of these industries — perhaps more than my fair share. So I think it’s time to dedicate an issue to power of experience and the economy that is making people’s time and lives more fulfilling. I hope you enjoy it.