New study reveals luxury travellers want to ‘ditch the gram’ when discovering a new city

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    New study reveals luxury travellers want to ‘ditch the gram’ when discovering a new city

    A study conducted by InterContinental Hotels & Resorts asked more than 7,000 luxury travellers in major cities around the globe how they would like to explore new destinations… 

    An independent study, which surveyed more than 7,000 luxury travellers in London, New York City, Mexico City, Dubai, Sydney, Paris and Shanghai, has revealed that travellers are seeking authentic, multi-sensory experiences outside of the ‘insta-lense’.

    The study is published as InterContinental Hotels & Resorts launches InterContinental ICons, offering travellers a fresh look at some of the world’s most exhilarating cities. The group is inviting the public to take part in a global conversation on what makes destinations around the world truly iconic.

    The brand’s independent study, carried out in Paris, London, New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and Mexico City, revealed travellers often feel they only scratch the surface of a city. The study revealed that most locals (59 per cent) feel visitors are missing out on the true spirit of the place, while 75 per cent of luxury travellers want to experience cities as a well-informed local. Meanwhile, social media analysis exposes ‘sea of sameness’ with three-quarters (77 per cent) of travellers feeling obliged to walk down the same traditional tourist trail.

    Additional analysis of Instagram posts revealed that the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most posted tourist site, representing 10 per cent of all posts worldwide. Buckingham Palace is the most-tagged site in London (21 per cent) and Central Park is the most-tagged in New York City (20 per cent), highlighting that tourists are often focused on visiting the same “must-see” sites.

    These findings were confirmed by locals, with more than half (59 per cent) feeling that tourists miss out on the best their city has to offer.

    InterContinental’s new campaign aims to inspire adventurous travellers by rediscovering what makes each city truly fascinating. An online vote, launched today, asks the public to select the most symbolic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings in these cities, that will connect travellers more deeply when they visit.

    Some of the multi-sensorial experiences identified by luxury travellers around the world include:

    • Paris – The scent of oven-fresh bread on the boulangeries of Oberkampf, Paris 11e
    • London – The warmth from a roaring fire in an old London pub on a chilly day
    • New York – Smell of roasting chestnuts from a vendor cart on Broadway
    • Shanghai – The warm aroma of Xiaolongbao at the Temple of the City Gods
    • Dubai – Sound of water lapping an abra (traditional wooden boat) as it glides along Dubai Creek
    • Sydney – The feel of the cool breeze on your face on the Manly to Circular Quay ferry
    • Mexico City – The sounds of Mariachi music in Garibaldi plaza

    The full list of nominated ICons in London include:

    • The sight of the landmarks lit up as you cross the Thames at night
    • The warmth from a roaring fire in an old London pub on a chilly day
    • The contrasting old and new architecture as you walk through the City
    • The calls of a market trader on Portobello Road
    • The smell of mulled wine at Greenwich market during Christmas
    • Freshly baked sourdough from an artisan baker in East London
    • British strawberries from Broadway Market
    • The smell of thousands of roses in bloom at Queen Mary’s Gardens at Regent’s Park
    • The sound of applause at the open air theatre in Regent’s Park
    • The swoosh of air standing on the platform as a Tube pulls in
    • The cold wind during a morning jog or dog walk on Primrose Hill
    • Spotting the stags at Richmond Park on a misty, autumn morning
    • The botanical notes of gin and tonic made with a South London craft gin
    • The warming smell of coffee roasting at Maltby Street Market
    • The musky smell of old furniture at an antiques market

    As a pioneer in luxury travel, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has always been the gateway to fascinating places and local cultural wisdom, so we understand that travellers are craving a deeper connection to the places they visit,” said Ginger Taggart, Vice President of Global Marketing, IHG Luxury Portfolio. “ With our latest campaign, InterContinental ICons, we’ve set out to discover and celebrate authentic places and moments that might be overlooked by visitors but are truly part of what makes a city special.  Whether it’s the feel of salt air while riding New York’s Hudson River ferry, the melodious bells of the clock tower on the Bund in Shanghai, or the feel of cobblestones underfoot on old Parisian streets, these ICons might include under-the-radar experiences, or well-known tourist hotspots viewed in new and unexpected ways. We want to reignite a sense of fascination for these much-visited cities and encourage discussion around what makes them truly iconic.”

    InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has pioneered luxury travel for more than 70 years and now has 208 hotels in 66 countries worldwide. With this heritage and insight, the brand understands that modern luxury travellers are looking for a deeper connection with the iconic places they travel to.

    Through social media analysis, the insights of key opinion leaders and independent research, InterContinental has established a long-list of multi-sensory experiences that are representative of each city. Beginning today, InterContinental invites the public to select the experiences they truly feel demonstrate the city or cities they know best at and engage in a conversation across social media using the hashtag #intercontinentalicons

    Voting closes on December 31 2019. A global panel of judges, featuring acclaimed National Geographic Photographer Charlie Hamilton James, local influencers and well-travelled members of the InterContinental Ambassador loyalty programme will lend their expertise to curating the top five InterContinental ICons in each city, with the final reveal and celebration in early 2020.

    Main image credit: Pixabay

    Hamish Kilburn / 05.12.2019


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