Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends
If you go to the opera, symphony, and possibly less so ballet in the US, most of the patrons are over 50. Arts and cultural organizations have realized they have to reach out to younger generations, especially Millennials, but also Gen Z. So no surprise museums are hosting admission free evenings with a DJ or live music. Social groups with names like “Young Contemporaries” have special programming that allows for socializing as well as cultural content. Special concerts are designed to appeal to families. Museum restaurants do themed dinners, reaching out to “foodies”. The goal? To make this demographic feel comfortable and at home, build attendance and loyalty.
One of the more comprehensive programs I’ve come across that has a community relations component as well is the PNC-initiated Look!Reflect!Connect!: Art Explorations for Young Children at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. The program is aimed at bringing the arts into the lives of underserved three to five year olds. It’s a combination of interactive classroom experience and gallery visits to the Barnes. Another important element is professional development for pre-K teachers and a family event.
Seven schools participated last year representing 400 participating students. “The Barnes is committed to building greater ties with the community and serving an even broader audience, “said Tiffany Allen, Grow Up Great Coordinator of the Barnes Foundation. The Cleveland Museum of Art has a similar program.
Look! Reflect! Connect! at the Barnes was initiated as part of PNC’s Grow up Great program. Grow Up Great is a nationwide initiative at various cultural institutions in cities that PNC is present. Let’s hope other corporations and cultural institutions follow suit.
In a 24/7 demanding world, even yoga and exercise don’t always work for stress relief. Enter crafting, the newest antidote not only to help rest the mind, but also to stimulate creativity in the workplace and a new idea for meetings. So no surprise that, as reported in Adweek, adult coloring books are “taking the nation by storm”. They’re on Amazon’s list of best sellers, and cropping up in major brands such as Timberland’s marketing efforts. Even Vogue magazine has come out with its own entry. Coloring books also offer the benefit of being portable, inexpensive, appealing to all demographics and fun.
Michaels Craft stores now offer 150 coloring book titles along with other surfaces people can color on like T shirts, and canvases. And for the ultimate in stress relief, there’s the Meditation Coloring Book that combines calming thoughts with hands on craft activity.
Now how about this for a novel coffee break idea for a group meeting? Combine it with a juice bar and nutritious snacks and voila. Or have a craft bar with easels for sketching or painting, day by day planners that you can personalize with stickers, and kits for making handstitched photo frames. All refreshing ,relaxing and creativity stimulating options that are sure to be crowd pleasers.
Wine tourism has been around for decades – tours of vineyards, wine hotels, and wine trails, from California and New York to New Zealand, Australia, Europe, the southern tier of South America and more. Of late, thanks to craft breweries we’re seeing a growing number of craft beer festivals and museum like brewery tours. The newest link in the chain, not surprising given the celebrity status of mixologists and interest in new beverage taste sensations, is spirits (as in liquor) tourism. Spirits tourism is following what is a major growth in spirits revenue nationwide. Excluding wine and beer it has doubled to over $50 billion from 2000. Its appeal is also based on an interest in local products and history and, similar to craft beers, the boom in craft liquors. A recent google search revealed a surprising number of states – Delaware, Washington, Oregon, New York, that have gotten on the bandwagon with spirits trails, sometimes combining them with wineries and breweries.
Not only distillers, but also state and local governments see this as a new source of tax revenue and jobs, as well as a new tourism niche. Kentucky, in particular, is getting in on the act, enjoying a special upswing from bourbon, with new distilleries being built, complete with a tasting room for sipping bourbon and looking at the local scenery. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a collection of distilleries on a scenic route, attracts thousands of visitors annually. Distilleries offer behind the scenes tours where one can watch vats of yeast bubbling and workmen rolling barrels of whiskey as they’ve done for decades. In downtown Louisville, Whiskey Row is being revived with a new distillery for Old Forester, the country’s first bottled bourbon. Another producer, Wild Turkey, has paid double in taxes this year, twice what it paid in 2010 thanks to robust sales. For hotels and restaurants, craft spirits are a new avenue for public relations, with the media devoting more space to everything from drink recipes and signature cocktails to star mixologists. One of the more clever outtakes is the bar at the new Traymore restaurant at the Metropolitan by COMO. It has a gin bar boasting 40 different kinds of gin and the Apotheker at the Shelbourne Wyndham Grand South Beach, a riff on bar as pharmacy.
Photo courtesy of NationalGeographic.com
As you probably know by now, we are major proponents of the importance of going niche, even micro-niche having written about its emergence and acceleration since 2005, the founding year of our Luxury Travel and Lifestyle Trends newsletter. But the latest incarnation surprised us – microniche online dating sites, with services we would never have guessed. We’ve already seen fractioning sites for everyone from Christians, Catholics and Jews, to seniors and millennials; now there are new entrants for farmers, gluten-free singles and devotees of Ayn Rand, The American novelist, philosopher, playwright and screenwriter. Farmers Only boasts 100,000 users with the tagline: “City folks just don’t get it”. (Not sure where that leaves urban farmers). The already ten year old site, THE Atlasphere has 16,000 dating profiles, where followers of Ayn Rand can meet online for conversation and possible meet-ups. Feeling alone, awkward, or a burden because you’re gluten-free? The most recent entrant is GlutenFree Singles that would seem to be a prime target for romantic resorts offering gluten free menus.
What possibly could be next? We’d love to hear your ideas. For a more in depth read,you might enjoy this article in the Wall Street Journal, “Farmer Seeks Same: Looking for Love in All the Niche Places” (love the title).
We’ve come a long way in our growing awareness of green tourism and other sustainable business practices. Next up? Expect to see more consumer education in “behind the scenes” green programs. A recent New York Times article caught my attention, “Architecture in Tune with the Climate”. Most interesting was the description of a new state-of-the-art processing center, Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, due to open in October in Brooklyn, New York. The facility processes all the plastic, metal and glass collected by the New York City Sanitation Department. But what’s novel is the building is by an architect who usually designs museums and art galleries. Her goal for the 11 acre site? To make a place that does its processing job, but that’s also architecturally significant. And more interesting still, there will be an information center where tours will be offered including a chance to see sanitation workers sort through the plastic, glass and metal. At one of our clients, we’re going to launch a behind-the-scenes tour designed for families, which explains and demonstrates our sustainability practices, serving the added benefit of reinforcing our commitment to the environment.
Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist
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