By Taz Bareham — 7 Oct 2014
As a tour operator, it’s important to keep your ear to the ground for emerging travel trends that you can take advantage of.
You need to make sure your offering caters to the needs of the markets that are likely to buy your experience.
Below are some of the hottest specialty travel opportunities identified by Entrepreneur.com, coupled with our advice on how tours and activities can connect with them.
Adventure travel has become increasingly popular over the years. In fact, the Travel Industry Association (TIA) reports that over the past 5 years, 98 million adults have taken an adventure trip.
What do we mean by adventure? Well, it can mean different things to different people. There are the more extreme adventures (rafting, spelunking, parasailing, skydiving), and there are the “soft” adventures (walking, cycling, fishing, camping, horse riding).
How to reach them:
Whichever category your tour or activity falls into, you must realise that the trend is becoming so popular that there are agents who specifically cater to this niche.
To reach this segment, find out what websites they’re using to book themselves in, and approach them for a partnership.
If you aren’t sure where to start, have a look at an OTA called AdventureFinder, which allows travelers to choose from nearly 2,500 trips and tours around the world.
Consumers can organise custom trips, browse vacations tailored for groups, singles, couples and families; and search/sort by price, trip duration, and preferred destination with more than 30 interests and activities.
Payment is through a pay-per-click format, as users will click to your website to learn more and check availability.
The demographic of travelers seeking a luxurious holiday is also on the rise.
86% of surveyed travel agency owners, managers, and frontline travel agents who book luxury travel indicate that tour bookings are higher or on par with last year.
So if you’re planning to create a high-value package, don’t be shy. Partner with other operators in your destination to make it that much more appealing.
Luxury travelers are posh, so they probably won’t head to discount travel sites looking for deals.
They will typically use agents who act as travel concierges and book everything in for them.
To find these agents, you will probably have to do a bit of geo-specific research. Tip: Certain types of Chinese travelers are known to seek luxury.
Once you know who they are, it’s time to reach out and establish a partnership.
A lot of men and women travel in groups, sticking to their own gender.
Women are a force to be reckoned with in the travel industry.
In fact, 75% of those who take cultural, adventure or nature trips are women (GutsyTraveler). And according to Road & Travel, women influence 75% of all travel decisions.
As a result of this trend for both younger and older women to go on short getaways with their girlfriends, the number of women-only travel companies have increased by 230% in the past 6 years (GutsyTraveler).
These women are interested in activities like going to spas, sailing on cruises, tasting wine, and shopping at local markets.
Just like women, men enjoy going on trips to bond with their buddies. Popular activities include things like golfing, sport events, fishing trips, skydiving, and skiing.
Specialised travel agents exist to serve this niche. Check out websites Adventure Women, Women Traveling, and Man Tripping for good examples.
Just make sure you have appealing products which suit them. You can even name your products accordingly and make small tweaks. For example, if you run a walking tour with a meal break in the middle, have beers for the men’s package, and champagne for the women’s package.
For more tips on how to distribute your products to the masses, feel free to download our Distribution Channel eBook: