At the 2016 PURE Press Roundtable, we asked some of our press members to share their predictions for the next big trends in experiential travel…
But is anything really new? Hear Founder & CEO of Fathom Pavia Rosati explain why she thinks trends stay the same – it’s just how they manifest themselves that changes; or read on to get the extended insights and download the full report.
TRAVEL TREND #7: TRAVEL UNPLUGGED
“What’s interesting about now is that the thing that makes me feel like I went away is that I didn’t look at my phone, either because I had the discipline not to, or I was forced not to because where I went is so remote there is no Wi-Fi.”
– Pavia Rosati, Founder and CEO of Fathom
In today’s hyper-connected world, where for many it’s the norm to be online 24 hours a day, there’s an increasing desire to unplug and take time out from the professional and social networks. While the notion of a ‘digital detox’ is nothing new, our press influencers predict that this trend is about to go one step further in 2017.
For Fathom’s Pavia Rosati, challenging the concept of agency is the next frontier for experiential brands wanting to create ‘unplugged’ travel experiences. “Not having WiFi is so freeing because the responsibility to be doing something is off because you can’t – it’s as though you want to give agency to someone else to make you stop doing things and posting online in today’s over-connected world”, she says.
In an industry where free Wi-Fi is a minimum benchmark for high-end hospitality, it’s a brave supplier who omits it altogether. But the aim in experiential travel is, after all, to encourage people to step outside of their comfort zones; and while being forced to go off-grid might be uncomfortable at first, travellers for whom the internet brings with it a sense of obligation to reply to that work email, or prove what a great time they’re having with the perfect Instagram post, will ultimately be more available to connect to the here and now.
Proving that the need to quieten the noise extends to the offline world too, Porter’s Catherine Fairweather also observes the proliferation of silent retreats: “They have existed for a long time as part of Catholics’ annual cleansing, but now they’re opening up to the rest of the world.”
Comparable to health spas with strict menus or yoga retreats that enforce a rigorous exercise regime, ‘unplugged’ retreats (whether Wi-Fi-free, silent, or incorporating elements of such) utilise ‘enabling constraints’, described by Art Education Professor Juan Carlos Castro as conditions that allow us to “enter into spaces of uncertainty and be able to reorganise previous understandings into new patterns of knowing about themselves in the world”.
Katie Palmer is Senior Creative Executive for Beyond Luxury Media.