So we know that people travel to Italy for the beautiful culture, impeccable architecture and incredible food. But why else do people go? What are some of the noteworthy travel trends in Italy this 2016?
Here are 5 travel trends Italian tour and activity operators should know about, and how to make the most of them this year.
1. People are more likely to pay by card rather than cash
According to Euromonitor, this trend is growing as more and more people find it a safer and more convenient alternative to carrying cash everywhere they go. They have also noted a general increase for payments of smaller sums, proving the point that people are preferring to be cashless.
Tour and activity providers should take note of this growing trend. Start implementing cashless payment systems on your websites with an online booking and payment systems like TrekkSoft's. It is also important to have a mobile card reader, to make sure that you never have to turn away a customer again.
2. People still view Italy as one of the most romantic places to go for their honeymoon
Italy is beautiful and there is no doubt about that, which is why it was listed as the top destination for honeymooners by Virtuoso, an international network of luxury travel agencies.
For tour and activity providers, this means that you should probably look at your tours and activities to figure out which ones attract the most newly weds and, more importantly, why. With this new insight, you should tweak your tour descriptions and marketing messages to emphasise more of what your previous customers enjoyed and work on improving that experience too.
3. People also want to bring their Gen Z kids to Italy
Italy was also listed as the top destination for family and multigenerational travel by Virtuoso. This is an interesting trend as it means that tour and activity providers need to reach out to the Baby Boomers, the Millenials and Gen Z. Gen who? They're the younger siblings of Millenilas, barely 20 years old and the ones born into a world of ipads and smartphones. They don't really see the point of a paperback book.
One obvious way to engage Gen Zs as a tour or activity provider is through the social media platforms they use, such as Snapchat and Instagram. Why not encourage your customers to add you on Snapchat and have fun taking short clips of the tour or activity?
4. People want some of that amazing Italian food they see on TV and social media
"Food has an unmatched ability to communicate a unique sense of place", according to Greg Oates in Skift's 2016 Megatrends report. Coming from Malaysia where food is a big part of our culture, this seems like a no-brainer to me. But across the globe, more and more people are travelling to gain an immersive experience of a new culture through food.
For Italian tour or activity operators, perhaps think about the various products you offer where customers are given a unique insight into the local culture, may it be through a cooking class or a day in a vineyard; and think about what else you can add on to make the experience truly unbeatable.
Read our previous post on 5 tips to get glowing reviews for your food tour or cooking class to get some great ideas on how to improve your existing tours and really blow the socks off your guests.
5. People come to Italy looking for a truly luxurious experience
Maybe it's the movies or the TV shows or the books or the Instagram accounts but Italy has always been viewed by every non-Italian as a luxurious destination. It is the land of Ferraris, Guccis, Dolce and Gabbana, and the list really does go on.
For you, dear tour and activity provider, there are quite a few things you can do to adapt your tours to a more up-market crowd. Of the many things, you need to make sure that you've got the right team who understand the experience you wish to deliver and who will go above and beyond to make your customers happy. That is, after all, what they paid for. Provide your employees with the right incentives and train them well, there is no short cut when it comes to delivering excellent service.
You could also head over to an article I wrote on 5 ways to adapt your tours and activities to attract luxury travellers.
Do you have any other strategies to make the most of these travel trends?
Interested in how TrekkSoft's online and booking payment can change your company?
Written by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.