This week’s announcement of Stone Brewing opening a hotel that offers guests a complete craft beer experience has me thinking about the booming experience economy. At the hotel, guests will be treated with a complementary beer and will fill their pints throughout their stay with various Stone beers on tap, including special releases and unique casks. Guests will not only have access to typical hotel amenities like room service, but will also be treated to in-room growler delivery service. Experiential marketing is not new, but the idea of making an immersive and permanent vacation-like experience is a relatively new iteration of it. The move highlights that experience, above all else, is the means to affinity.
As trail blazers in the experience economy, more than three in four Millennials prefer to spend their money on an experience or an event instead of buying something tangible (Forbes, 2015). And this trend isn’t just a Millennial one. Consumer spending on experiences relative to total US consumer spending has increased by 70% in the last 20 years (Forbes, 2015).