Exploring Experiential Travel in 2020 and Beyond
Suasion Communications Group president Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt will be a featured speaker at the annual 2019 New Jersey Conference on Tourism, sponsored by the New Jersey Tourism Association, December 4 & 5 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Susan’s presentation will highlight the latest Experiential Travel Trends.
Experiential tourism is one of the fastest-growing travel trends. But experiential travel isn’t new. In fact, for a number of years now, travelers have long been desiring trips full of culinary, culture and activity-based experiences. This demand shows no signs of slowing down, and travel agencies, CVBs, and tourism destinations will see great success in offering their customers such experiences.
Travelers will continue to seek local and authentic experiences, whether that’s the best pizza joint in the state, a tour of historic sites, or a scenic boat ride. These types of experiences are growing more accessible with digital platforms like Airbnb that make planning trips easier.
Experiential tourism is meant to be not only authentic, but also immersive and meaningful. With this kind of tourism, travelers engage with a particular place’s history, people, culture, food and environment.
Here, we look at a few examples of what will drive experiential travel in 2020 and beyond:
- Culinary Tourism
This type of tourism has been defined as “the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.” Culinary tourism offers both locals and tourists alike an authentic taste of a destination.
- Movie/Pop-culture Tourism
People enjoy travelling to locations that were featured in popular literature, film, music, or any other form of media. MTV’s Jersey Shore brought fans to New Jersey to see the iconic house where the show was filmed, and HBO’s Game of Thrones has fueled tourism in Croatia, Northern Ireland, and Iceland.
Insta-tourism is a new form of tourism that has emerged in response to the use of the fastest-growing social media platform, Instagram. The platform allows individuals to promote or research travel opportunities. People flock to places they have never heard of but have only seen on the site, and they now seek out “Instagrammable” destinations. Brands can use this to their advantage by creating memorable, Instagrammable setups like the famous Wildwoods Sign, for example.
- Transformative Wellness Tourism
Transformative travel is any travel experience that empowers people to help others, or to make meaningful, lasting changes in their own life. We see this trend in volunteer work and yoga retreats.
- Animal Experiences
In October 2019, Airbnb launched “Animal Experiences” – a brand new category of Airbnb Experiences that allow people to better understand animals through caring, expert hosts and set a new standard for animal tourism. With 1,000 Experiences co-hosted by over 300 species and their human advocates, guests can now paddleboard with corgis, kayak with conservationists, learn alongside urban beekeepers or skateboard with a world record-winning bulldog.
- Space Tourism
Space tourism is now becoming a more serious possibility. On June 7, 2019, NASA announced that starting in 2020, the organization aims to start allowing private astronauts to go on the International Space Station, with the use of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft for public astronauts, which is planned to be priced at 35,000 USD per day for one astronaut.
- “Stayable” Experiences
These experiences are a natural fit for brands within the travel and hospitality industries. Attendees spend the entire day and night at your event, and as a result, it is typically much more immersive and memorable. Zoo sleepovers and a Star War-themed hotel are two excellent examples.
Personalization has long been important to digital marketing, but this trend also applies to experiential travel. Airbnb uses machine learning to provide ultra-personalized travel for their users. The search results the company displays are personalized to the listings and experiences predicted to be the best for that guest, as well as the trip characteristics that are right for the host.