We think travel is an important factor in helping people grow, expand their horizons and learn to get along with other cultures. So we are always interested in learning how and why people travel.
The good news is that how and why people travel has changed. Their desire for new experiences helps inform where they go, what they do, how they spend their money and why they travel in the first place. Essentially a desire to grow is the reason why most travelers would now rather invest in experiences instead of stuff.
Skift Research’s 2018 U.S. Affluent traveler Survey ‘found that 67% of affluent travelers would rather spend their money on activities than on a nicer hotel, up 8% from last year.’ Choosing experiences is a travel trend that is shown across all generations and demographics. Luxury isn’t out, but authentic happenings are now more sought after than ever before for both Asian and Western travelers.
Google conducted a study with PhocusWright in 2018 to discover how mobile phones are used by potential travelers. The results confirm our observations.
Customers are comfortable researching, booking and planning their entire trip to a new travel destination on a mobile device. Top consumer markets displaying this trend include India who came out top with 87%, Brazil (67%), Japan (59%), South Korea (53%), US (48%), Australia & United Kingdom (45%) and France (44%). With knowledge comes better decision making and better decision making leads travelers to book more experience-rich journeys.
So what do people want in the way of experiences? A recent report by Trekk Soft showed the following:
Tour operators are now receiving requests for unique experiences from travelers who want to do something that is a once-in-a-lifetime. This is becoming more common amongst Millennials who want to explore the world and share their stories with others.
Ecological tours are in demand
Ecological tours are the most popular tours offered by many tour & activity operators. These are usually rare experiences that educate and share inside information on the area, and how to protect it for the future. Tours that use proceeds to fund ecological projects such as forest or animal habitat restoration are chosen above alternatives without a cause.
Travelers are choosing to become more immersed in the local culture when visiting a destination. They want to do what the locals do and eat where locals eat. Airbnb Experiences are offering a solution where travelers can book a local experience with a destination native.
Adrenaline junkies are becoming mainstream
Adrenaline pumping activities continue to grow with two new generations who are keen to push their limits. Adventure destinations are at the top of many traveler’s lists.
History & culture is still hot
Walking tours are still one of the leading experiences for anyone visiting a new location. They are a great opportunity to find your bearing, meet other travelers and have all their questions answered by a destination expert.
The key takeaway from all of this is that a desire to have genuine experiences is increasingly driving people’s choices for how and why they travel. We think this is a positive trend which will help us all grow a little closer.