Having experiences in places and with people is as important as it ever was. There are those armchair types who don’t mind sitting down and either surfing the Net or watching traditional TV to connect with the world, and of course there is nothing wrong with that.
But if you had to speak to a genuine tree hugging environmentalist or a rugged mountain climber or a frequent flier who just loves airport hopping, they will tell you that there is nothing like the real thing. Sitting and eating a bowl of Thai green chicken curry from the local Chinese take-away while watching the Travel Channel’s latest programme on Bangkok and Phuket may bring you nearer to the place in spirit, but this simply would not do for a person who would rather experience it first-hand.
Many a brand that is based on authentic, tactile experiences will use this to differentiate themselves from their competitors. As reported before, even dating services, popular as ever, simply serve as a modern postal service or cotillion for linking suitors and creating social connections. The actual experience with another human being is the end, and the technology is simply the means to that end.
So for example, people will use an online travel agent to book flights and accommodation, but still visit their travel clinic to get the necessary inoculations, then board the plane at a real airport (even if they did their check-in digitally and printed their boarding passes before they got to the gate), then experience the flight, and land in some exotic location to soak up the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of the place.
The most advanced digital technology cannot recreate this yet, and even if in the future this were possible, perhaps there would be those in some Total Recall-esque world who would want the authentic thing, not some plastic knock-off.
So if your product or service or event offers great experiences, work it digitally baby!