Are you familiar with “experiential travel” yet? It was a term I heard frequently at the recent HD Expo in Las Vegas. According to Wikipedia, “Experiential travel, also known as immersion travel, is a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a country, city, or particular place by connecting to its history, people, and culture.”

The reason it’s an important term to know is because it sums up exactly what today’s consumers are looking for when they visit a brick-and-mortar store, dine in a restaurant, and go away on vacation.

Whether designers are working on a tropical resort, an intimate café, a business hotel, or even a commercial office, there is greater emphasis on giving users of that space a cohesive environment with some pleasantly unexpected twists – such as meditation nooks or a group work space equipped with beer taps – incorporated within.

Our fast-paced world – bolstered by the immediacy of information provided by the internet, text, and email in the palm of one’s hand – has been leading to high-tech burnout. In reaction to rampant connectedness, more people are seeking restful places where they can put their smartphones and laptops away and zone out for awhile. This has led to the rise in off-the-grid lodging and unplugged dining options (for example, Sarah’s Corner Café in Pennsylvania offers a discount for families who put their
cellphones away while they dine).

The hospitality sector is responding to these new preferences by offering “experiences” where guests can become immersed and “recharge” (pun intended) in a new environment. Industry pundits
expect this trend to grow stronger in the upcoming months.