A large part of succeeding as a tour or activity operator is adjusting to demand and interest from guests. The industry is in the business of delivering great experiences, after all! It’s certainly worth paying attention to what’s changing in wider society, and design guest experiences to suit. Amongst the wider pandemic-related changes, here are three wider trends to take notice of – and make the most of.
The focus on wellness & relaxation
With burnouts and stress skyrocketing during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a renewed focus on maintaining our mental and emotional wellbeing. We all know that holidays and day trips are a great way to disconnect from the digital world and lower stress, and therefore it makes sense to provide guest experiences that support just that.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism was a $639 billion industry as of 2017, and expected to reach $919 billion by 2022 – and those are pre-COVID statistics! Tourism operators can make the most of this trend in a vast variety of ways, from offering experiences that centre around mindfulness and wellbeing, to offering healthy food options during your tour activity experiences.
The seeking of natural connection
A combination of climate change awareness, sustainability practices and pandemic-related lockdowns has many people chasing sunshine and greenery. It feels great to be outside right now, and even better to be engaging with the natural world in a low-impact way.
Wildlife and ecotourism is a strong growth area, and there are opportunities to make the most of this whether you’re already operating or are planning to start a tour or activity business. It’s an ideal time for operators to take on more sustainable measures such as digitising their booking and tour operator waiver experience, and to tailor guest experiences to help educate and engage guests about local flora, fauna and conservation efforts.
The increase in solo travellers
If you’re not catering to solo travellers yet, you should at least be considering it! The solo travel market has been growing fast in recent years, between the growing numbers of people living alone and those bursting to escape their social distancing ‘pods’. A recent survey by American Express Travel revealed that 43% of respondents want to take a solo vacation in 2021, and 1 in 5 respondents want to travel solo for their future travel plans. Booking.com has reported that while 17% of travellers were interested in planning a trip on their own before COVID, that number is now up to 30%. Tour and activity operators may do well to consider the growing solo demographic, both by welcoming solo travellers with friendly tour guides and by minimising the solo supplements of old.
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