Trend expert: Travelers want meaningful trips

Daniel Levine encourages business owners to market to customers' values

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— Would-be travelers are searching for meaning in their vacations, speaker Daniel Levine told audiences this morning at the Economic Summit. Levine, an international trends expert with AvantGuide Institute, offered insight and encouragement to businesspeople.

Steamboat Springs is ahead of the pack, he suggested, because it already appeals to people's values. Travelers are no longer looking for just experiences they can brag about to their neighbors, Levine said.

"What people are looking for is value-packed, meaningful experiences, and the idea here is it's not just about the experiential economy anymore," he said. "It's about the meaningful economy."

Levine pointed to four trends that make up that economy: personal growth experiences, creative experiences, community experiences and green experiences.

He also encouraged businesses to show visitors how their vacation would help Steamboat's residents and community.

Businesses should say, "'Hey, come to Steamboat Springs and you will be helping this many people, you will be helping the economy generate this much money.' : I think that would be a very powerful message," Levine said.

He offered advice about how businesses can use the trends to build their customer base.

"How do we turn these trends into action?" he said. "Well, first, incorporate unexpected elements into your experience. Surprise and delight. It's got to be something unexpected and new."

Levine offered a list of advice:

- Offer more than experience. : Give it meaning.

- Think about the experience in terms of making memories.

- Create an experience that offers personal satisfaction.

- Enhance the learning opportunities in your product offering.

- Deliver meaningful experiences that are truly unique.

- Use the language of these trends in your marketing.

- Use customer feedback to learn what is working.

- Stay on top of trends.

The summit, "Thriving in Tough Economic Times," continues all day at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

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