The Transformation Economy is Rising, Are You Ready for Next-Gen Experience Design?

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<span>The Transformation Economy is Rising, Are You Ready for Next-Gen Experience Design?</span>
Bottom Line:

Now is the time to transform, where we as a community within Destinations International, should be collectively focused on unlocking the power of travel by leading, defining, and measuring the transformation economy. This holistic revision encompasses how we travel,  how we design travel, and how people and places harmonize their efforts in co-creating a brighter future for all.

Building off pent-up demand post-pandemic, worldwide tourism has seen quite the boon this year, but now with inflation driving up the costs of airfare, dining out, and experiences, our industry is again facing strain. With that, perhaps thoughtful destinations will use this opportunity to take a breath, align with their values, build inner and outer capacity, and recalibrate their sustainability initiatives and visitor experience strategy. As we shift into a healthier and more sustainable model, we should be going beyond sustainability and wellness, letting go of the experience economy, and fully embracing the transformation economy.

Remember when we had all of these good intentions coming off the pandemic, transform this and that, be better versions of ourselves, build back better, blah blah blah, but what we’ve realized is that things bounced back fast and that change is hard, after all, 70% of those that start a plan, quit. It’s human nature to go back to what we know, what is easy and comfortable, it’s darn hard to transform, it takes intention, presence, commitment, reflection, and action-taking, and who has time for that? Now might be that time!

While this short-term boon may have been replenishing for the tourism sector and many of the lives it touches, we must do more, and aim at revitalization, giving new life to tourism built upon higher ideals, human virtues, healthier systems, and expanded consciousness. And with this wisdom, bring deeper commitments to breaking old patterns of behavior that have overrun destinations, damaged our planetary ecological health, and left all too many travelers and hosts alike, feeling empty, like travel had lost some of its transformative power.

Travel at its purest should shake us, stir us, and turn us upside down, show us the views from the other side, exposing how beautifully different we are, but somehow just the same. That’s the little smirk and wink of the eye that real travel flashes at us when we find ourselves in those moments that transform, we gasp, our voice stumbles, and we reach to hang on to something as the foundation of our pre-conceived notions, perceptions, and perspectives begin to shake beneath our feet and we’re reminded of how small we are and how big the world is, and that in it, we matter just like everything and everyone else in this complex web of life. It’s in this space that the seeds of transformation are planted, not just within you, but within us all.

Tourism is evolving and we’re beginning to appreciate the power of terms like regeneration, renewal, and revitalization. Transformative experiences go beyond transforming just the visitor, it is about the transformation of the entire community. Not just me or you, but we and us, even the sea, trees, and bumblebees. A healthier, more enlightened tourism dynamic breathes life, energy, and peace into our lives, but that’s easier said than done.

Now is the time to transform, where we as a community within Destinations International, should be collectively focused on unlocking the power of travel by leading, defining, and measuring the transformation economy. This holistic revision encompasses how we travel,  how we design travel, and how people and places are harmonizing their efforts in co-creating a brighter future for all.

It’s easy for destinations and travel companies to promise transformation. It’s much harder to deliver transformation. Embracing and implementing new frameworks, tools, and techniques in this new economy will allow forward-looking, purpose-driven destinations to deliver truly transformational visitor experiences that build lasting relationships and provide unique and unprecedented value for visitors and residents alike, not traditional value, but meaningful value at a time when people are craving meaningful change more than ever. 

“After years of difficulty and reflection, most people today want to change. They want to work differently, think differently, and manage their health and well-being better. They want to use tools and technologies that deliver personal transformation. And not just deliver, sustain. All types of companies and organizations can play a role in helping people to change and become what they want to become. ”— Aransas Savas, Transformation Economy Collaborative

There has never been a better opportunity for tourism stakeholders to adopt new, innovative, and impactful strategies for meeting this emergent demand and providing deep, enduring value to guests and travelers. Knowing how to reach and connect with these travelers, and how to design and facilitate transformative journeys enables you to unlock travel's potential for good in our lives and our society while driving value, loyalty, and referrals to your organization or destination.

To meet and deliver on this nascent demand, the experience economy is now evolving into a transformation economy. According to Stone Mantel, it's the fastest-growing segment of the industry, outpacing services and experiences, now representing a $208 Billion market opportunity in the USA alone. Last year, the TTC partnered with Stone Mantel Experience Strategy Firm and Joe Pine, author of "The Experience Economy" and TTC Advisor, to shape a roundtable of tourism organizations to cooperatively lead, define, and measure the transformation economy, now entering year 2, there are a few seats left at the table and we encourage you to consider joining us.

The transformation economy will help destination stewards achieve the following … 

  • Adopt new frameworks, techniques, and tools for the destination, guides, attractions and tour operators
  • Change how you think about your experience strategy
  • Use Behavioral Science to effectively guide transformations
  • Learn how to design for impact and meaningful motivation
  • Help visitors achieve their travel and life aspirations
  • Deliver greater, sustainable impact for your destination visitors, residents, and natural environment

At this moment, it is vital for travel companies, hotels, and destinations tasked with guiding transformation for their visitors and residents need to provide an effective context and tools for behavior change. Though travelers seek transformation, the action of sustaining change can be difficult and can result in disappointing outcomes and visitor and resident dissatisfaction.

We believe that behavior change is the missing link in our pro-social and pro-environmental movements, including the climate crisis. This means that in addition to providing deeper value to your customer and building a healthier business, businesses in the transformation economy are also contributing to societal and planetary change.

Additional insight into the Transformation Economy can be found here …

I believe in the future because I believe in us and our ability to transform and renew our lives and our relationships with each other and our world. And this starts in our communities, by putting our people and place at the center of the whole and designing experiences that are more ethical, impactful, and transformative for all.

For more information on the Transformation Economy, Transformational Travel Design Courses, and our Accredited Programs, Destination Transformation and Destination Regeneration, please visit:

About The Author

Jake Haupert

Co-Founder & Chairman of the Board, Transformational Travel Council

Jake believes that we’d all benefit from a more conscious, purposeful form of travel. One that maximizes the potential to positively transform how we live our lives, how we live with others, and how we live on our planet. All of his work is rooted in the steadfast belief that transformative travel can incite change by breaking down divisions within and between us.

The world is changing... And now it’s time for conscious evolution in travel and tourism. Jake and The Transformational Travel Council are using this moment as a launchpad to something completely different... a transformation economy in a regenerative system.

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