Bold Brits Seek Out a Life Less Ordinary

Demand for New Experiences Lifts UK Out of its Comfort Zone

Bold Brits Seek Out A Life Less Ordinary - Hilton Hotels & Resorts reveals nation's appetite for new experiences. (Photo: Business Wire)

LONDON--()--Brits will forgo almost everything to enjoy a new travel experience, according to new research revealed by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT). Nearly eight out of 10 (79 percent) of these so-called Experience Hunters said they are prepared to sacrifice material goods in order to experience the new and unique. Over half (56 percent) said they would give up designer clothes, phone upgrades (46 percent) and streaming services (44 percent), while more than a third (36 percent) said takeaways.

The study highlights how Experience Hunters are driven to see as much of the world as possible, further evidence of the UK’s growing “experience economy” – a shift in consumer behaviour from buying goods to buying experiences. Nearly two thirds (63 percent) have visited somewhere completely new in the past year, rising to 71 percent for 25–34 year olds. Looking to the future, almost 60 percent of people said that they are likely to visit a country they have never visited before within the next 12 months.

The research also reveals that more than half (54 percent) of the population have a bucket list, with nearly a quarter (23 percent) aiming to tick theirs off by the time they reach 50.

Seeing the Northern Lights takes top spot on the UK’s bucket list (48 percent), but research shows that Experience Hunters also want a taste of the high life. More than a quarter (26 percent) wish to travel on the Orient Express versus 16 percent who want to swim with dolphins. Over a fifth (21 percent) opted for flying first class over 12 percent who dream of trekking the Inca Trail.

“We are seeing the dawn of a new age of holiday maker who is willing to sacrifice everyday things for new experiences across the globe,” said Andreas Lackner, vice president, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. “In real terms, our research is pointing to 11 million people who will have achieved their bucket list by the time they’re 50 and who truly value those experiences over anything else. We’re thrilled to be in a position to offer guests memorable new experiences as they tick off their list around the world.”

According to the research, the nation’s Experience Hunters try on average three new experiences on a typical break and claim the benefits are invaluable. Almost half (45 percent) say trying a new experience on holiday leads to a more fulfilled life, while almost a fifth (19 percent) claim the benefits continue to be felt once they’ve returned to their everyday lives.

Psychologist, Miriam Akhtar, said: “As this research shows, Experience Hunters are benefitting from regular doses of what is known as ‘authentic happiness’ – the deeper kind of happiness and well-being benefits that come with a sense of satisfaction from ‘doing’ rather than ‘dreaming’. Life is short and new travel experiences should be embraced – they are proven a route to happiness. Travel opens up our world, broadening our horizons both metaphorically and literally – leading to new opportunities in life. The positive psychological and well-being benefits cannot be underestimated.”

The research also delved deeper into Britain’s ‘experience psyche’ to uncover more about the differences of Experience Hunters across the country:

  • Wrexham is the bucket list capital of the UK with 67 percent of residents having one, followed by Worcester, Cardiff and Newcastle
  • Oxford claims top spot for Experience Hunters with 85 percent of residents expecting to tick off their entire bucket list followed by Gloucester, Coventry and Newcastle
  • Swansea’s inhabitants seek the most adventure, with 19 percent claiming to have 10 or more new experiences on a typical holiday
  • The people of Chelmsford are all about familiarity when travelling, with almost 12 percent admitting they don’t have a single new experience on holiday
  • Birmingham’s residents are the biggest thrill seekers with almost one in five (17 percent) wanting to sky dive and 8 percent have bungee jumping on their travel bucket list
  • Liverpudlians like to take a walk on the wild side as they are most likely to put a safari on their bucket list (30 percent) whereas those in Southampton want to swim with dolphins (25 percent)

Interestingly, when it comes to where people find their inspiration, 43 percent cite television and film as their main source. 18-24 year olds are more than twice as likely (27 percent) to use Facebook for travel inspiration than any other age group.

Surprisingly, despite the rise of the smartphone selfie phenomenon, 68 percent of Brits still use their camera as their ‘go to’ for capturing holiday memories, while 13 percent of 18-24 year olds use a diary to document their adventures.

“For nearly 100 years, across more than 100 countries, we have been helping our guests discover the world and uncover new and unique experiences through travel,” continued Andreas Lackner. “Whether that be travelling to a new country or joining events and experiences through our exciting partnerships including Udderbelly Festival at London’s Southbank and Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival in August, we’re committed to providing our guests with diverse opportunities to create truly great memories.”

The research was carried out by Hilton Hotels & Resorts as part of its Our Stage. Your Story. brand initiative. People looking for inspiration for their next travel experience can visit to create a bespoke vision board for their next dream holiday or visit the “Inspiration for Travellers” page for how-to videos and tips to help move their bucket lists to “booked it” reality.

Notes to editors:

The UK’s top 10 bucket list experiences:

1. See the Northern Lights
2. Stay on a tropical island
3. Travel on the Orient Express
4. Try new local food / drink
5. Go on safari
6. Fly first class
7. Drive Route 66
8. Walk the Great Wall of China
9. Stay in a suite at a five star hotel
10. Swim with dolphins

Top ten cities with the most Experience Hunters

1. Oxford
2. Gloucester
3. Coventry
4. Newcastle
5. Wolverhampton
6. Edinburgh
7. London
8. Bristol
9. Portsmouth
10. Southampton

*The survey was conducted by OnePoll between 27 April 2016 and 3 May 2016, amongst a total of 2,000 men and women over 18 years of age. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts

For nearly a century, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has been proudly welcoming the world's travelers. With more than 570 hotels across six continents, Hilton Hotels & Resorts provides the foundation for memorable travel experiences and values every guest who walks through its doors. As the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide, Hilton Hotels & Resorts continues to set the standard for hospitality, providing new product innovations and services to meet guests' evolving needs. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is a part of the award-winning Hilton HHonors program. Hilton HHonors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels receive instant benefits, including an exclusive member rate that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton HHonors app. Access the latest at and begin your journey at or for the latest hotel specials.

About Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, comprising more than 4,660 managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties with nearly 765,000 rooms in 102 countries and territories. For 96 years, Hilton Worldwide has been dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences. The company's portfolio of 13 world-class global brands includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton HHonors®. Hilton HHonors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to benefits including exclusive member rates, free standard Wi-Fi, as well as digital amenities that are available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton HHonors app, where HHonors members can check-in, choose their room, and access their room using a Digital Key. Visit for more information and connect with Hilton Worldwide on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn and Instagram.


Kejal Ashra
Hilton Worldwide
+44 (0) 207 856 8154
Jacqueline Toppings
Hilton Worldwide
+1 703 883 5381


Kejal Ashra
Hilton Worldwide
+44 (0) 207 856 8154
Jacqueline Toppings
Hilton Worldwide
+1 703 883 5381