Personalized Celebrations Gain Popularity in Travel Industry

Travelers are increasingly seeking unique, personalized experiences to commemorate special occasions, with hotels and resorts offering bespoke hospitality in response.
The Stay Human platform by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants allows guests to curate customizable packages for their celebrations, with other resorts providing similarly tailored offerings.
The trend towards experiential celebratory moments is driven by a focus on human connection, with multigenerational family travel and various milestones being celebrated during a single trip.

In the post-lockdown era, travelers are increasingly seeking unique and personalized experiences to commemorate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and other major milestones.

Hotels and resorts are responding to this demand by offering a more bespoke style of hospitality.

A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults revealed that 48% save travel for special occasions, and these respondents are more likely to describe themselves as happy (88%) and successful (89%) compared to those who believe in traveling as often as possible (76% and 71%, respectively).

Bespoke Experiences for Special Occasions

IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants recently launched its Stay Human platform, which allows guests to connect with a Stay Human Concierge at select hotels to curate customizable packages for their celebrations.

Examples of these unique experiences include picnics in Russell Square Gardens at the Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel, and in-room hair and makeup sessions at West Hollywood’s Kimpton La Peer Hotel.

Other properties, such as Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, offer celebratory beach dinners with fireworks, while The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort in Vail, Colorado, has a $60,000 Diamonds are Forever package that includes a diamond martini, helicopter ride, outdoor photo shoot, private shopping session, and spa access.

White Elephant Resorts, known for its properties in Nantucket and Palm Beach, has partnerships with the members-only Barton & Gray Mariners Club for yacht excursions and Priority Bicycles for complimentary bike access, catering to guests who want to make their celebrations extra special.

Deb Swacker, a family travel specialist, believes this surge in special occasion travel reflects a permanent shift in spending habits, with consumers opting to invest in travel experiences over material goods.

The Importance of Human Connection in Travel

The trend toward experiential celebratory moments is driven by a focus on human connection and experiences, according to Chloe Johnston, president and founder of Chloe Johnston Experiences.

In addition to birthdays and anniversaries, travelers are celebrating work-related milestones and other significant life events, such as buying a new home.

Multigenerational family travel is also on the rise, with groups choosing to mark multiple milestones during a single trip.

Deb Swacker, a family travel specialist, believes this surge in special occasion travel reflects a permanent shift in spending habits, with consumers opting to invest in travel experiences over material goods.

Vacation Preferences and Spending Habits

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of BeachBound, found that people prefer to celebrate milestones with intimate gatherings (37%) rather than large crowds (23%).

Respondents indicated that they would splurge on dining (60%) and experiences (58%) when celebrating milestones, with popular activities including dinner at a fancy restaurant, celebratory food, and specialty items for the guest of honor.

Planning for milestone trips often begins at least six months in advance (28%), with more Americans believing that the host or guest of honor should cover the costs (28%) instead of the invited guests (24%).

As travelers continue to prioritize human connection and unique experiences, the travel industry is adapting to offer personalized and memorable celebrations for milestone events.

Craig Miller

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