A sense of hopelessness, a feeling of detachment, a loss of motivation, zero energy, seemingly unwarranted anxiety… welcome to burnout city, population (nearly) everyone. During the pandemic, millions of people woke up to the fact that their chaotic, fast-paced lifestyle wasn't serving them. Millions more left jobs that prioritized urgency & unrelenting demand over quality of life & wellbeing.
Fortunately, many people are finding answers in something different. Something slower. According to Google’s thinktank, “one of the cultural side effects of the COVID pandemic has been the marked slowdown in the pace of our lives. We’re in a new era of ‘slow living’ and many consumers are embracing it.” The popular search engine saw a 4x increase in slow living videos over the last year.
This trend towards slow behavior has been increasing steadily before the pandemic. With 4.5 million #slowliving photos and 2.5 million #slowfood photos on Instagram, the movement is picking up speed in response to a need for a more peaceful, relaxed lifestyle. Cultural phenomena that align with the slow movement, such as hygge and wabi-sabi, are becoming more widely adopted by people all over the world.
And of course, the way we travel will be impacted greatly. We are already seeing new collections of hotels such as the Slow Living Hotels brand with properties across Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, as well as SLOW with their Tulum Treehouse and working sustainable farmstead in Ibiza.
There are many different names for these kinds of experience consumers. Some might label them promadic, others, cultural creatives, but what really matters is what matters to them. Their values.
When we say travelers are seeking slowness, what we’re actually saying is they are seeking a more immersive, more nourishing experience. An experience that brings people a sense of harmony with themselves and the world. These are people that desire to be reconnected to their sense of curiosity, vitality, and purpose… and that requires slowing down to experience greater emotional depths.
Slow experiences are the anecdote to the large percent of our population that feels disconnected, cynical, trapped and lost. In helping people get back to their roots, connect with nature, and explore hobbies, rituals, activities, and behaviors that bring them joy, we can help move people out of their dazed & confused pit of despair.
Are you giving guests an experience that expands them and shows them what their life has the potential to be? Surface-level sightseeing doesn’t have the power to do this for the slow seekers. These are people that would rather go an inch wide and a mile deep to really experience the nuances of a culture and its lifestyle.
Hospitality & tourism hosts will need to create highly sensorial and storied experiences to appeal to this growing segment of consumers. In the Slowbound Society, we explore this (and more) with our members. The Slowbound Society is a new community mastermind for likeminded leaders looking to speak to the slow seekers of the world.
Aligning to this movement will require more than just redecorating with artisanal pottery or swapping in locally made cheese on your menu. It will require hospitality & tourism brands to operate by a strong set of slow-centric values and re-evaluate how travelers are being enriched across the entire guest journey. Hosts that go the extra mile for this movement will be rewarded with a loyal, high-value customer base and a meaningful brand culture for all those involved.