Recently the travel industry has seen a swathe of acquisitions in the tours and activities space.
But what does this tell us about the way that consumers are now approaching their travel? Some opinion seems to suggest that these movements are a result of new behaviours and that consumers now more than ever before are looking for experiences from their holidays. And in part this is true. History tells us that as humans, exploration is in our very nature and that in order to satisfy this desire to discover new things we must go to new places. It is therefore unsurprising that consumers are looking towards their holidays to provide new experiences and memories to take back home with them, especially as the world gets smaller and the opportunities to travel open up to more people.
However, looking at this, is there also a suggestion that holiday habits are somewhat reverting back to what they once were when travel agents were in their prime?
There are now many more ways to book a trip without even having to step inside the door of your local high street travel agent and we have all seen concerns being raised that 'do it yourself' holidays were taking over. But I see this shift in behaviour as a retreat back to the safety of having everything organised in one place; a place where consumers can still satisfy their urge to explore but with the added security of the bookings being in one place and with one company.
There will always be a segment of the marketplace which values independence and flexibility, but it seems that a large proportion of travellers still very much like to have everything taken care of for them, leaving them with more time to enjoy and explore.
So what does this mean for marketing and business? Well it's quite simple really, it all comes down to knowing your audience. If you spend time understanding your target market's wants and desires you'll learn what it is they need from you in order to encourage bookings and boost revenue. Not everyone wants a one-stop shop, but if you find they do, then it might be time to take a look at whether your business or marketing operations are designed to satisfy your customer's desires.
We found that 67 percent of affluent travelers would rather spend their money on activities than on a nicer hotel, up eight percentage points from last year. A similar number of such travelers prioritize new experiences over relaxation. Three-quarters of high-income travelers have participated in at least one organized tour or activity.