I am of a generation that loves experiences.
Just as the Greatest Generation touted frugality and the Baby Boomers were all about the American Dream, we Millennials crave traveling to far-off places, sitting down to a well-plated meal and curling up before the fire after a long day of skiing — and then maybe sharing those moments on Instagram.
Sure, it’s a stereotype, but for many my age, the stereotype fits.
We grew up hearing, “Money can’t buy me love,” “You can’t take it with you” and “The journey is the thing.”
These truisms took.
Markers of success no longer include the latest TV, the fanciest car or the biggest house. Who wants to talk about the possessions we own? Instead, we would rather dig into what we did last weekend or where our next adventure will take us.
Enter: the experience economy.
Two decades after the term was coined in a 1998 piece by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in Harvard Business Review, the experience economy is taking off.
When I lived in New York, I couldn’t make it a block without running into a pop-up or miniconcert or guided tasting. The trend is growing in Sheridan, too, with cooking classes at Verdello and Cottonwood Kitchen + Home, an open pottery studio at Red Bison — even an Escape Room.
While Millennials are receiving all the credit, a recent study by Expedia and the Center for Generational Kinetics shows that 74 percent of Americans of all generations prioritize experiences over products. The change could be because we have been burned by the recent recessions; it could be a natural progression from the service economy.
Regardless of the reason, I love the direction.
With supercomputers at our fingertips at any time, we could easily retreat into the digital world of information and entertainment. Instead, this trend toward experiences shows a value for real-life interaction that connects us to our community, to each other.
Since moving back to Sheridan, I have found myself immersed in experiences I grew up around and now appreciate more than ever, from mountain music festivals in the summer to backcountry snowshoeing in the winter. Our county has so much to offer, thanks to the regional businesses who continue to sponsor, maintain and plan.
For more than 130 years, The Sheridan Press has reported and distributed news across the county. Throughout our history, we have strived to evolve with the times, following our mission to inform and engage the community. And now, we are taking our game to the next level.
Enter: Press Pass. We have created an all-new membership program, my favorite “special project” yet.
Press Pass will unlock exclusive seasonal experiences offered by our regional business partners. Think: comped tickets to the WYO Theater; a VIP tent during the inaugural Sheridan WYO Winter Rodeo, courtesy of Black Tooth Brewing Co; behind-the-scenes visits to the Brinton Museum in Big Horn; and many more.
And, since we are, above all, dedicated to exceptional journalism, the membership features a premium online subscription to The Press with a customizable homepage and additional content.
The hope? Members will further connect with Sheridan County, new local experiences will blossom and The Press will continue to progress.
Press Pass registration opens Wednesday, Jan. 9. If you have any questions — or experience suggestions! — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.