Travel has long been a way for us to escape our daily routines, experience different cultures and gain new perspectives.
And, today’s consumer is increasingly looking for more unique, authentic and memorable ways to experience travel.
As the travel industry experiences a boom in sales and bookings, now is the perfect time to diversify your offerings.
Travel experience is on the rise, but how can you prepare and sell the perfect trip?
Read on to find out.
What is a travel experience?
While any type of travel can be experiential, experience travel itself focuses on having authentic and meaningful connections and heading to off the beaten track destinations rather than visiting the most popular tourist hotspots or landmarks.
Also known as immersion travel, this form of tourism allows travellers to experience a country, city or specific destination by actively engaging with its history, people, culture, food and nature.
Today’s traveller is looking to:
- Have unique and memorable experiences
- Engage with local cultures, people and traditions
- Travel like a local
- Go out of their comfort zone
- Gain knowledge, perspective and fulfillment
- Travel more consciously and sustainably
And, according to the New York Times, as Covid restrictions are being removed, traditional sightseeing trips are being replaced with more meaningful experiences and travellers are increasingly booking trips to far-flung or bucket list destinations.
The Wandering RV explains that over 78% of millennials expect an educational adventure when travelling, and around 60% prioritse authentic cultural experiences over material goods. The annual millennial travel market is worth 200 billion USD, giving travel companies a vast array of opportunities when creating their travel experiences.
Travel experiences are also often linked to adventure travel and sustainable tourism, and as we talked about in 6 Trends that will continue to shape the Travel and Tourism Industry in 2022, sustainability, active ecotourism and cultural engagement are on the rise. While travel experiences don’t necessarily have to be eco-friendly, they can be a way for travellers to help local communities, travel more mindfully and immerse themselves in nature.
What makes a wonderful travel experience?
Excellent travel experiences should allow travellers to immerse themselves in their chosen destination. Whether in a big city or a remote jungle, the experience should be authentic, unique and memorable and offer an insight into the local culture, history or environment.
Experiential travel often involves partnerships with local tour operators, hosts or guides, further adding to its appeal by allowing travellers to give back to local communities.
What could be more authentic than spending the night in a homestay or eating at a restaurant that only locals know about? For tour operators, offerings such as unique accommodation options, knowledgeable local guides and hidden gems are what can set your travel experience apart.
Examples of travel experiences
Looking for some travel experience inspiration?
Here are some of our top picks.
- Stay with an indigenous tribe in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador
- Marvel at the northern lights in Finnish Lapland
- Discover the towering peaks of Switzerland
- Experience untouched nature and rich local culture in Namibia
How do I create and sell travel experiences
Firstly, research your target market and find out what kinds of travel experiences they are searching for. If your company already offers tours to specific destinations, search for travel experiences in that given location and connect with local companies or tour guides.
How can you give your customer the most out of their experience? Identify what is unique about your specific offering and what sets you apart from other tour operators.
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to marketing in the tourism industry, especially when focusing on millennials. Today’s travellers are also more and more likely to share their experiences on social media.
To capture this market, companies are moving away from traditional marketing strategies in favour of sharing user-generated content, which can offer consumers a more authentic view of their dream destination. More on marketing for tour operators here.
According to Jumpstart, travellers today are also much more likely to book closer to their travel date than in previous years. Because of this, tour operators need to provide their customers with more flexible options.
Nezasa’s TripBuilder software allows travel brands to efficiently create, plan and book their customers’ itineraries, all on a simple and easy to use online platform. TripBuilder also allows you to personalise your customers’ trips with flexibility. More information on how to plan and book itineraries here.
Are travel experiences for everyone?
While not everyone shares the same adventurous spirit, there is an experience to suit every type of traveller.
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