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Gifting Experiences Coming Of Age In India

Every city in this world is unique, with the people making them different. It’s the culture and the arts, the dance forms, the landscape, the rejuvenation styles, the work-life, the trade and the commerce; authentic food, modern outlook, agriculture, passionate people, the heritage sites, the adopted culture, the communities etc. that render them their uniqueness. The true flavour of this uniqueness is carved out ‘By The People and For The People’. Experiences manifest and evolve when people drive this change. It is quite evident that experiences have now become the norm.

Catering To The Millennial Moods

It is no surprise that the experiences market has been adopted both on the corporate and consumer side, especially by the millennials.The people of the millennial generation want to invest their time doing activities that cater to their passion, interests, adventure and romance. Experiences fit naturally into their scheme of things as they look for an occasional adrenaline rush, a frequent deep relaxation, an increasingly-good conversation, an unpredictable journey in an unknown land, a chance to defy the laws of nature, an opportunity to be different, an excuse to bend rules and break stereotypes; some lip-smacking food with lilting ambience, a knack to often learn something new, a constant escape from boredom and a desire to embrace newer ways of life every single day. They want to make every moment of their lives count and render every memory of their past cherishable and worth sharing like a story. They want to look back at their past with pride, enjoy every moment in the present and leave the future full of adventure and uncertainty. They love to be open to life, meet new people, have lots of fun and regret nothing at the end of the day. It is for these very reasons that people have started endorsing experiences. They create memories which last for a lifetime.


Experiences As Corporate Rewards

Nowadays, corporates have started utilizing experiences in the form of Rewards and Recognition (RnR). Corporates have begun to realize the value of their human resource and rewarding them the right way to build a strong organizational culture, to improve performance and productivity and to drive ownership. Most organizations now have a well-defined HR policy framework for the entire employee lifecycle that enables them to decide the size of rewards and the nature of recognition that they give.

The redefinition of employee appreciation was a result of the various challenges that arose in the pre-existing scheme of rewards and recognition, such as attracting and retaining employees, and the lack of enthusiasm in employees receiving awards such as trophies and mementos.

Companies have started rewarding employees with experiences for various reasons such as personal occasions – Birthdays, Weddings, Anniversaries and professional occasions; there are rewards like Employee Referrals, SPOT Awards, Team Awards, Long Service Awards. Some companies that have started using such experiences are Accenture, Infosys, Adobe, and Microsoft, and startups such as Ola, Furlenco and Snapdeal.


Looking Ahead

Today, the concept of experiences has spread much beyond theaters and theme parks. People want real-life thrills and won’t settle for anything less. They want to create cherishable memories instead of accumulating tangible valuables. That’s how they want their life to be – full of happiness, memories and fun. They want to skydive rather than own a private plane. They prefer to snorkel in the sea and catch a first-hand view of marine life instead of feeling bored at home not wanting to spend money. They want to visit forests and farms and explore village life instead of owning a property. They want to trek, camp and hike in the snow-clad mountains instead of buying jewellery with that money. They want to learn aerobics and yoga rather than spend that money on their own medical bills. They prefer a walking tour of the old city rather than own a luxury car with a chauffeur. They want to connect with people and explore diverse cultures rather than laze in the comfort of their homes. They prefer a candlelit dinner with their partner on a yacht far from the shore and enjoy the conversation in solitude rather than cook and eat at home with the television turned on. They prefer experiences over assets, freedom over stereotypes and memories over boredom.

It won’t be an overstatement to say that gifting experiences is coming of age in India with more and more enterprises and people endorsing them. Owing to their personalized touch and a strong human element, they help establish an emotional connect between the giver and the receiver. 

The author Sumit Khandelwal is the Co-Founder of Xoxoday

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