tour industry trends

With 2014 fast approaching, experts in the travel industry are noticing certain trends emerging amongst travelers. It’s becoming clear that if tours and activities don’t adapt to these trends, they risk fading into irrelevance.

Here are 3 key trends that you should be aware of:

1. Reasons for taking a vacation

In American Express Travel’s survey of 200 traveler counselors, respondents noticed the following drivers for vacation decisions:

  • Arts and culture (32%)
  • Ultra luxury travel (27%)
  • Culinary travel (21%)
  • Adventure travel (16%)

This is probably why respondents noticed their customers were visiting more exotic locales, with 54% of counselors seeing a preference for international destinations.

As a tour or activity operator, you may already fall into one of those categories. A walking tour demonstrates your destination’s arts and culture; a limo ride is luxury; food and wine tasting is a culinary experience; and hang-gliding is adventurous.

Know what motivates your customers and think of creative ways that you can make your experience even more artistic/luxurious/delicious/thrilling. Consider adapting your packages so you can generate more revenue per customer with your new idea.

2. Different types of customers

Even though you tend to attract one kind of customer more than the other, it doesn’t give you an excuse to neglect the following segments:

The Elderly

According to Futurist Dr Graeme Codrington, the travel industry is not keeping up with the older generation. Consider these facts:

  • The number of people reaching 100 is increasing by 400% each year
  • Over half of the people who have turned 80 are still alive, and by 2050 the number will grow to half a billion

Although this generation has a different mindset from young travelers, you can provide them with an opportunity to do things they’ve never done.


Young travelers now represent 20% of international tourism. The problem is Gen Ys are hard to please. Sydney Morning Herald reported that “pretty much everyone in the travel game is expected to be more professional. Everything has to be of a higher level. If they’re not, the Gen Ys will go elsewhere.”

As we have previously discussed, young travelers are interested in cultural experiences when they travel. According Contiki Managing Director, Fiona Hunt, “young travelers want to get involved, get immersed in local culture, and they want their holiday to be based on what they find interesting in their daily life.”

They are also demanding when it comes to online convenience. In fact, young travelers are increasingly booking organised tours and entertainment activities online – so make it as simple as possible for them to learn more about you and lock in a booking.

Business Travelers

According to a US study, spending on business travel is expected to fly up 7.2% to 288.8 billion in 2014. The Global Business Travel Association found that gains will be fueled by steady corporate profits, increased business investment and an improving US economy.

You need to tailor packages according to these different types of customers so you don’t miss out on the opportunities they present.

3. Importance of your online presence

These days, if you’re not online, you might as well not exist in the minds of a large chunk of your potential customers. In fact, 57% of all travel reservations are made on the internet.

Tony Goncher of American Express Travel says that “As technology advances, so do expectations. Customers are digital omnivores, consuming information across multiple devices, 24-hours a day, from hundreds – even thousands – of sources.”

So you need to adapt to the digital revolution. Embrace your online presence instead of fighting it! Work on enhancing your website, and get listed on sites like TripAdvisor.

TravelWeekly reported that Australian youth send an average of 10.8 emails and 7.9 Facebook updates per holiday. Take advantage of social media and review sites. If you’re not sure how, download our guide social media for tour operators: