As travel continues to make a comeback, one trend that has emerged is purposeful travel and the need to make connections. It comes as no surprise given the restrictions of the pandemic lockdowns and the new emphasis people are placing on their mental and physical well-being.
But, as travellers put more thought into the impact of their travel; tours, activities and attractions operators need to pivot to meet these changing demands. By understanding what is driving this trend, operators can take advantage and offer products that will continue to drive recovery and help travellers find their purpose.
What Purposeful Travel Means for Travellers?
Travellers are more concerned than ever about their impact on their destination. It is no longer just visiting the sites and activities but about leaving a positive impact and travelling for a meaningful reason.
According to the American Express travel report, 81% said they want the money spent on travelling to return to the local community while 62% are more thoughtful about where and how they travel.
When these local communities are given enough support, it allows them to thrive and uplift the lives of the people in the destination. So, this means activities like dining and shopping at small businesses or visiting a farmer’s market or a heritage site.
Alaska Wildlife Guide LLC leverages the five heritage sites within the Arctic Circle with their combination of Northern Lights tours, natural excursions to Chena Hot Springs and snowmobile tours and activities for purpose-driven, sustainably-focused travel.
When these local communities are given enough support, it allows them to thrive and uplift the lives of the people in the destination.
This kind of sustainable travel attracts sustainably-focused tourists and can boost recovery for travel operators. But the connection aspect isn’t just limited to the local community. Travelling is also a chance to achieve goals and create personal connections.
The same report shows a shift towards travelling with families, with 79% of travel consumers looking forward to travelling with family. And out of the countries surveyed and 76% of those plan to do so.
This shows more value on family connections, especially for those separated during the lockdowns and travel restrictions. For the industry, there will likely be more demand for family-friendly or group tours and activities.
Taking Advantage of Purposeful Travel for Tours and Activities
Partnerships and new offerings can be made to leverage purposeful travel that benefits operators, travellers, and communities. Here's how:
1 - Tours that immerse in local culture
When planning trips, travellers will continue to put a premium on experiential travel. With 70% interested in cultural immersions, tours, activities and attractions operators must find various ways to bring travellers into the heart of the destination.
For example, travellers can explore like a local with walking food tours. But it should not be just any tour. Travellers are eager to experience something different when they go out into the world again.
For example, Withlocals connects travellers to local guides for a personalised tour so travellers can experience the local culture at their own pace.
2 - Family or group packages
Because travelling with family is already a priority, tours, activities and attractions operators should be ready to offer family passes and group packages or rates. Catering to larger groups for unique experiences will attract more travellers with the budgets to match.
In fact, in Skyscanner’s trend report, travellers from Australia (60%) plan to spend more on travel this year, followed by Germany (49%), and the UK (48%).
Encounters Travel is already catering to groups with their “Egyptian Family Adventure” and “Egypt Nile Family Adventure” packages. These allow families to connect while also getting the flexibility of experiencing the wonders of Egypt together.
3 - Putting health and wellness first
Health and wellness will always be a priority for purposeful travel. 79% of travellers say that travelling positively affects their physical and mental health. With more people focused on well-being, operators should be able to provide various wellness activities.
Yoga, spa treatments, or meditation retreats are some of the most common forms of wellness travel. Even if well-being is not the main priority, these give travellers a chance to relax, which is often one of the main goals of purposeful travelling.
Aotearoa Surf School is already an excellent example of naturally catering to health and wellness travellers with their “Surf Sistas Women's Surf & Fitness program Tour”. This allows travellers to enjoy New Zealand's natural beauty while trying something new and focusing on bettering themselves.
4 - Create meaningful content
No matter the industry, marketing plays a significant role in a successful business. And for tours, activities and attractions operators, content marketing is more important than ever.
You can communicate directly with your offerings by creating meaningful content for your customers. You can tell stories about different destinations and how you can help your customers positively impact the world while travelling.
If you are focused on family travel, you can create content to target families to give them a sneak peek at what they can enjoy when they book with you. But user-generated content is the way to go if you want to make a more significant impression. Because they come from other travellers, they serve as testimonies that can influence other people into your brand.
Ultimately purposeful travel is a trend every tour, activity and attraction operator can leverage this year. Creating products to cater to this need will likely stand out from the competition and attract travellers to your brand.