This blog post is an extract 'The Destination Marketing Handbook' for Destination Management Organisations.
Experiential travel is a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a country, city or particular place by connecting to its history, people and culture. It is a key tourism trend for 2018.
"Travel is about the people we meet. It's about who we are and what we want to do. Is it food experiences? Active outdoor pursuits? Experiencing different cultures? Travel is about what you do and who you experience it with.”
Olan O’Sullivan, CEO of TrekkSoft
Experiential purchases make us happier for longer than material purchases. Yet, there are also differences in how we feel before an experiential or material purchase, according to researchers Amit Kumar, Thomas Gilovich and Matthew Killingsworth (2014).
The best tourism brands put experiences and the joy we receive from them at the forefront of their marketing.
This is especially the case for destination marketing organisations, 56% of which consider experiences to be “a vital part” of their destination marketing, according to TrekkSoft destination research. Just 7% of DMOs consider experiences to be “somewhat important”.
"Travel providers need to remember that at the heart of guest experience is the experience part".
Jon Fauver, Co-founder of TrekkSoft
As the Guardian says: "There is science behind it, but it’s also very simple: regardless of political uncertainty, austerity and inflation, we are spending more on doing stuff, choosing instead to cut back on buying stuff".
Many travellers want to experience a country, city or particular place by connecting with its history, people and culture. To keep up, destination marketing organisations need to adapt their strategy and double down on experience-driven marketing. This means focusing on the experiences that really set your destination apart.
The core elements of success? Recognising your strongest local experiences, having a unified vision of what your destination offers, and not attempting to market everything you offer.
You should select destination experiences to promote that are based on your audience. Who are they? Why are they visiting? What would the like to do?
Bologna Welcome knows that travelers to Italy would like to book cooking workshops to make their own local cuisine. They allow bookings to be made instantly through their website by using TrekkSoft.
What experiences are travel consumers looking for?
For our Travel Trends Report 2018, we analysed the TrekkSoft tour & activity companies that were driving the most bookings. Here are the results:
- Recharging deep in nature
- The one-off experience you can't get elsewhere
- A walking tour in a cultural capital
- Sustainable adventure travel
- A crazy story to take home
- Really getting to know a country and its culture
- Thrills in a stunning location