Based on my experience and where I see the markets heading, more and more people are today choosing Low Cost carriers, 3-4 star hotels or AirBnB as accommodation and spending more money on experiences. It doesn’t matter where they go. I have spoken to Senior Managers who are quiet happy to do a 20 days tour of Europe using a Rental Car and AirBnB and savoring local cuisine as they go along.
The future would belong to Travel companies who share experiential content and create products based on this content, they are not worried that someone else would copy their content, they are just hoping that they have the first movers advantage.
2 years ago in 2017, when Bigfoot Marketing was born, I was promoting Kenya in Ras Al Khaimah and other Emirates of UAE and practically every agent I met said, Kenya doesn’t sell here. that Local Emiratis don’t travel to Kenya for safari’s. Just last week the same agent gave me the first booking for Kenya for Local Emiratis. It is time to stop generalizing and start creating experiential itineraries as the new age travelers have all the comforts in their own houses today and Holidays are a way of going outside the comfort zone and experiencing life. There are travel companies who are focusing on Women only travel and having been associated with one such company, I can tell you that these are extremely experiential products and usually sell out real fast as well.
Luxury Travel itself is not about staying in just a 5 star hotels anymore, there are activities that people wish to do, whether it is going for a Camping under the stars in Super deluxe 5* tents or driving on a formula one race track, or going for Northern lights. Wellness Holidays are also seeing more and more experiences being added to them.
Travel for a cause, is another activity that I see increasing today, more and more people want to incorporate an activity that would make a difference in someone’s life during their holiday and makes them feel good as well, that they were able to contribute. I see more and more schools doing this, we get loads of requests from Educational institutions for School and College groups which need some sort of CSR activity built in. Having promoted these during my days as an Inbound Company, I can tell you how positive the reviews were for us. A lot of Travel Companies booked with us because we were doing something which involved CSR work.
Culinary Travel is another segment which though very popular in the west is yet to pick up in the east. I see the People from far east wanting to travel with their comfort food, majority of Indians want to eat Indian on a Holiday, half of them become vegetarians on the trip and people from the Middle East want again their comfort food. Is it partly lack of knowledge and partly a cultural thing. But this trend is changing as well. As the Head of Taiwan Tourism Board here in the Middle east, I remember so many FAM Trips that I took to Taiwan wanting to go local. These were made up of Indians and Middle Eastern Nationalities as well. All it takes is for someone to start promoting it and this would also become an element in all itineraries even in the east I am sure.
People want to do more on their holidays and if you are not going to offer it, remember someone else is already doing it.