A recent survey of past Antarctica guests by Abercrombie & Kent revealed insights into the "Antarctic client."
Some are expected: Most have an interest in seeing wildlife in their natural habitat and have been on a safari in Africa or cruised in Alaska or the Galapagos Islands. Others are driven by their passion for photography. Others by their interest in history, enthralled by the stories of Shackleton and the age of exploration.
Other motivations for selecting Antarctica were less expected.
An impressive 64% of respondents wanted to reach their seventh continent, having already been all over the world.
"Many of our Antarctica guests have explored the world in search of adventure and are eager to achieve this milestone," said Stefanie Schmudde, senior vice president of global product strategy, product development & operations for Abercrombie & Kent USA. "I encourage travel advisors to mine their database for clients who have already been to five continents and plant the seed about where to go next, with enough lead time to get the seventh continent journey on the books."
Repeat Antarctica travelers
Perhaps a surprise to some, but a decent number of travelers to Antarctica are repeat visitors. Of survey respondents, 17% had been to Antarctica before.
"When targeting likely prospects, there is significant value considering clients who have already been to Antarctica," Schmudde added. "This is a place we see our guests come back to again and again. Many who visited the Antarctic Peninsula on their first cruise, returned because they wanted to see King Penguins and learn more about Shackleton on South Georgia."
Solo travelers & new-to-cruise
Two characteristics of past Antarctica cruisers that probably won't surprise too many travel advisors are the prevalence of solo travelers, as well as those who have never cruised before.
Thirteen percent of respondents traveled to Antarctica with A&K as a solo travelers. Because ships visiting Antarctica tend to be smaller, there is more opportunity for solo travelers to meet other people.
A more surprising finding of the survey was that only 11% of those who visited Antarctica with A&K had never been on a cruise before.
"Expedition cruising is a unique sector of the cruise industry and often attracts a different type of traveler, especially in a destination as untamed as Antarctica," said Schmudde. "I would encourage travel advisors to think beyond their existing cruise clientele when targeting Antarctica prospects to identify younger and more active clients craving adventures in far flung destinations."