Adventure Travelers: A Lucrative Opportunity for Tour Operators

Adventure Travelers: A Lucrative Opportunity for Tour Operators

There is a massive opportunity for adventure tour operators and activity providers in attracting adventure-seeking travelers.

In fact, according to the Adventure Travel Market Report, the global adventure travel market is estimated to be valued at $263 billion. This is a growth of 65% since 2009.

Here are some more interesting insights into adventure travelers, along with tips on how you can bring them to you.

Why should you care about adventure travelers?

Quick facts:

  • Adventure travelers are more likely to use professional services such as guides, instructors, tour operators, or other services.
  • Trip spending (excluding airfare and gear) increased from $593 in 2009 to $947 in 2012, across an average trip length of 10 days.
  • 45% of adventure travelers plan on using a tour operator on their next trip, compared to only 31% of non adventure travelers. This may suggest that they plan on visiting destinations they are less familiar with or plan on engaging in more challenging activities.
  • Adventure travelers promote destinations and activities. 81% say they are very likely to recommend to friends and family a trip that was similar to their last trip. 39% would recommend a similar trip by posting social media updates.

Put simply, adventure travelers are likely to become customers and promote you afterwards.

What do adventure travelers look like?

Quick facts:

  • The majority of adventure travelers are male (57%) and single/never married (48%, compared to 43% of those currently married).
  • With an average age of 36 years old, they are younger than non adventure travelers, who have an average age of 41.
  • 37% have completed a four-year degree.
  • Their average income is $46,800.

We can also break adventure travelers up into their respective age group profiles.

1. Gen Y (18-30) and Gen X (31-44)

These travelers likely traveled throughout their youth and studied abroad for college. They grew up around technology, and so they are tech-savvy, regularly searching for good deals and new destinations online.

To get even more granular, we can break this age group up into two categories:

A. High disposable income, time poor

These travelers are already working full time, and so they have limited leave to spend on vacation. However, because they don’t get to do it often, when they do travel, they splurge on one in a lifetime opportunities (eg. climbing Mount Fuji).

They are more likely to book with a tour operator, and you can probably reach them on social media. In fact 78% are using Facebook.

B. Smaller budget, extensive time

These travelers spend 2-3 years in the workforce before taking the opportunity to travel for an extended time, engaging with communities and the places they go. They may go on a long trek or journey in search of authentic experiences. They’re on a budget so showing your value for a great deal is your key selling point.

Baby boomers (45-64)

Baby boomer adventure travelers either find themsleves with extra time and money as their children have moved house, or they enter retirement with good health and a curiosity to do things they couldn’t during working years.

They have large budgets and may take 2-3 international trips per year in search of cultural experiences. They may even bring their grand children along. They are inspired by reading material, TV series (such as Amazing Race), and stories from friends and family.

What do adventure travelers want?

  • Compared to other travelers, they place an importance on exploring new places, meeting and engaging with local cultures while on vacation.
  • “Hard” adventurers like activities that are high risk and require a high level of specialised skill. For example, trekking, climbing mountain, and caving.
  • “Soft adventurers” are more likely to try different activities and destinations than hard adventurers, so they are an important market for tour operators.

For a better understanding of what classifies as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ adventures, here’s a table from the report:

hard and soft adventure

No matter what type of tour or activity you operate, adventure travelers are motivated by the same things – being outdoors, and having an authentic experience where they can really get close to the local community.

How are you marketing to adventure travelers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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