The Return of Experiential Rewards in 2022!

The Return of Experiential Rewards in 2022!

Consumer PromotionsCOVID-19Experiential Rewards

Restaurants, Dining-out & Bars (47-percent), Travel, Lodging & Vacation (46-percent) & Out-of-Home Entertainment (33-percent) ranked as the 1st, 2nd, and 10th most popular answers when Indian consumers were asked which category they plan to splurge/treat themselves in the next 6 months according to a survey conducted by McKinsey.[1]

There is a growing consensus that that as COVID-19 moves from a pandemic to an endemic phase[2], consumers suffering from ‘Pandemic Burnout’ (mental fatigue and anguish from an extended period at home) and ‘Digital Fatigue’[3] (fatigue from spending long hours in front of a screen) would want to transition to a reality in-line with past experiences where it was possible to dine outdoors, visit locations other than the closest grocery store and watch a movie amongst a group of strangers.

There is also a significant belief that the changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic were ‘Transient’ or temporary in nature. For example, in 2020, when Indian consumers first faced lockdowns, demand for online fitness, hobby classes and do-it-yourself grooming surged. However, as COVID-19 cases declined, and lockdowns eased- this demand has declined sharply and hasn’t rebounded even when there has been a slight surge in numbers.

For love of an experience…

The report also details how almost one-third of Indians have already gone back to the old- ‘normal’ when it comes to out-of-home activities, with 83-percent of the people surveyed stating that they would love a new experience in 2022.

In-fact the transition in perception is accelerating at a pace faster than anticipated.

Concerns around visiting a shop and engaging in person-to-person service have lessened. Safety perceptions in terms of dining out and joining/attending in-person events has improved. In fact, the number of people who feel safe staying in a hotel and taking a flight has almost doubled.

In the 18-34 age group, 41-percent people feel safe flying right now and 38 -percent are comfortable staying in a hotel. In the 35-54 age group, about 45-percent feel safe taking a flight or staying in a hotel. Surprisingly in the 55+ age group, more than 65-percent people feel safe flying or staying in a hotel, probably because of the lower anxiety levels derived from the presence of safety protocols present at airports and ever-increasing vaccination rates.

What does this mean for brands?

With a focus on digital & stay-at-home rewards in their consumer-focused promotions, brands have tried their best to ride out the pandemic while still trying to deliver consumer delight. However, the time for pure digital consumption on the part of the end consumer may have passed. As pandemic burnout, digital fatigue and transient behaviors among consumers fade away, there is a consensus that the old-normal will become the new-normal (albeit with safety protocols firmly in place).

And as consumers head outdoors in droves, it’s important to understand the value of Experiential Rewards as they create distinct memories and emotional bonds between consumers & brands. Consumers are more likely to become evangelists for a brand because of how personalized, customized & shareable an experience is.

According to Samdradha Tibrewala, Head – Partnerships & Revenue, BookMyShow, there are multiple reasons to be bullish about the upcoming period. “While movies have picked up steam and how, live entertainment experiences are not far behind either. There is a definitive rise in demand across cities. The pent-up demand for these events led to an average occupancy of 70-percent for an event with the 50-percent capacity guidelines, as permitted by the government. With audiences lapping up experiences across cities and genres, the experiential rewards market is a natural extension and we have already started receiving inquiries from corporates who want to gift varied experiences for their employees, partners, and families. The fatigue from digital experiences has evidently set in and thus, we expect experiential rewards to likely see a hockey stick adoption and recovery over the next 12-18 months.”

With regards to the return of cinemagoers, Tibrewala had even more exciting insights. “Transactions have crossed 60-percent of 2019 sales in under a month. Within the first ten days of movies releasing pan-India, daily consumer traffic surged to reach 76-percent of pre-Covid levels on an average while user engagement has been steadily rising, already surpassing 66-percent of pre-Covid levels on BookMyShow. Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities have made their return to big-screen fare even faster, with sales in a couple of months in 2021 already crossing 95-percent of 2019 levels for these markets.”

Go Big on Experiential Rewards with BigCity…

As rewards trend towards becoming experiential once again, we invite you to partner with the agency that lays claim to India’s most comprehensive Rewards Network! With over 20,000+ Merchant Partners & 100+ National Partners, BigCity’s Rewards Network provides last-mile coverage to 90-percent of the pin-codes across India.

Our approach to rewards integration is based on insights derived from working on more than 5000+ high-impact promotions over the last 15 years with blue-chip brands across verticals including but not limited to FMCG, Consumer Durables, Alco Bev, Banking as well as Retail & E-Commerce.

Experiences on offer from our Partner Network range from dining, travel, mobility, movies & entertainment, beauty & spa, grooming, adventure & activities, hobbies, fitness & sports to shopping.

To augment your promotional campaigns with the perfect selection of Experiential Rewards, reach out to us:

Or just enter your details in the form provided below, and a member of our Business Development Team will reach out to you as soon as possible!


[1] McKinsey & Company COVID-19 India Consumer Pulse Survey, 2021

[2] Times of India – COVID has entered an Endemic phase

[3] Deloitte Insights – Consumers overwhelmed by Digital Fatigue

Infographic based on –  Consumer behavior trends state of the consumer tracker | Deloitte Insights

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Consumer PromotionsCOVID-19Experiential Rewards

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