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Over the years I’ve assumed that most folks would like to travel. I’ve also assumed if they had their life priorities right, that they would travel the world if they could. That is, if they had the available time and the financial ability, they’d make travel a lifetime priority.
Not so. There are many folks who are not particularly interested in traveling. Getting to know other countries, people and cultures has not become a lifetime priority, and they have directed their time, interests and finances in other directions – perhaps to an extremely time-consuming career or perhaps
to needs or interests of the family.
However, those of us who do find travel a necessity in our lives do so for many reasons, and we may often rearrange those lifetime priorities to make room for travel. Let’s look at some of the reasons we choose to travel and why you, as trip providers, can include these reasons in your trip planning and marketing.
1. To relax and enjoy a CHANGE OF PACE in our lives. A trip to a place very different from home may become an annual “must” to help you keep life in perspective.
2. To continue our ongoing EDUCATION of the world and its peoples. We may realize that life is an ongoing learning process and just because we’ve finished school doesn’t mean that we’ve finished learning.
3. To get away from the everyday things we have to do in favor of some things we always wished we could do – SELF-FULFILLMENT.
4. To MAKE HISTORY COME ALIVE for us. Once we’ve stood on the spot where great world events occurred, we’ll have a greater understanding of today’s world.
5. To MEET NEW PEOPLE of all lands and perhaps come home with a new penpal friend or two for the future. Travel is more than just places, monuments and history; it’s made up of people.
6. To see ORIGINAL WORKS of the world’s great artists, architects and builders, leading us to greater understanding of those of today.
7. To try NEW FOODS and learn of the cuisines of other countries. Perhaps even to learn to prepare and enjoy these foods when we return home.
8. To enjoy SHOPPING – gifts for ourselves and others at home – often unique handicrafts that may remind us of the artisans who made them or the local marketplace where we purchased them.
9. To BETTER UNDERSTAND the customs and way of life of those whom we meet– perhaps even learn some things which we can bring home with us and integrate into our lives.
10. Lastly, if perhaps we chose to make this trip as a way to RUN AWAY from a stressful situation which we left at home, to return from our trip with a greater understanding of ourselves, our loved ones and this world in which we live.
Now perhaps you may wish to include some of the above features in your trip offerings which meet the needs on the part of many of your prospective tour members. Granted, not all of these needs may be pertinent to each of your future tour members. There may be those whose idea of a great tour is dining well and enjoying the nightlife. There will be those whose primary interest is the history of every town you visit along the way and who take notes at every stop.
And every tour group usually has one or more members who care only to shop – be it a souvenir shop, an outdoor market or an elegant boutique. But you’ll find that by trying to meet many of your potential tour members’ expectations and by providing a variety of activities, you’ll be offering a more interesting itinerary.
So go for it. Either offer a well-rounded, unique itinerary which should please a variety of travelers’ interests. Or offer a special-interest itinerary designed for a more focused potential market. In either case, start as early as a year in advance to improve your chances of a successful undertaking.
By Marty Sarbey de Souto, CTC
Marty is a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) with a long history in the travel/tourism industry. She has been a tour operator, worldwide trip leader, college tourism instructor and textbook author. Her consulting firm is Sarbey Associates (sarbeyassociates.com).