March is Women’s History Month, and so we thought we’d close it out by asking five top women in the industry to tell us what trends they see developing among their customers in 2017. Here’s what they said:
Jennifer Doncsecz, president, VIP Vacations, Inc.:
Women travelers today have a sense of self-awareness. If they enjoy certain hobbies, such as yoga, photography or wine tastings, then they seek out these activities in the destinations they are traveling to. Rather than just focusing on the hotel or resort, the emphasis is on “experiencing” the destination and incorporating specific interests now has become the priority.
Kristin Karst, executive vice president/co-owner, AmaWaterways:
2017 is shaping up to be a very strong year for river cruise sales in Europe, and three things have really risen to the forefront: the importance of Personalized Experiences, Active/Wellness and Epicurean Experiences. Our guests continue to look for creative ways of personalizing their vacations, so we’ve enhanced itineraries to offer even more opportunities for hiking and biking through vineyards and along the river banks. Special Interest Tours with an Epicurean twist are popular—like Bavarian Specialties Tasting, Pretzel Bakery Visit and Tasting, and Banitsa Pastry and Yoghurt Making, to name just a few. Our Wine Themed cruises are also very popular, thanks to the personalities of our wine hosts, the friendliness of the vineyard tours and the quality of wine tasting paired with local delicacies.
Lucille Sive, CEO, The Travel Corporation Africa Division: Lion World Travel and African Travel Inc.:
Travelers are looking for authentic and enriching experiences where they can also make a positive impact in the destination they are visiting. Immersive volunteer experiences allow travelers to experience a new culture, foster genuine connections with locals and contribute directly to sustainable development. Travelers want value for money with options that fulfill their budgets and bucket lists. They’re looking for the ultimate in value ensuring that their vacations are affordable, but also provide them with the best experiences in the destination.
Paula Twidale, executive vice president, Collette:
Executives are in constant balance mode, are time deprived and look for travel opportunities to decompress, re-energize, relax and indulge in some pampering. A travel experience that awakens the five senses is top of mind.
Kimberly Wilson-Wetty, co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.
More than ever, clients are seeking hassle-free travel experiences in 2017. Everyone seems to be over-scheduled, time-starved and social-media-addicted. Who has time to navigate the clutter of information to make good travel decisions? Expert travel advice, especially when tailored to your personal preferences, is a luxury in itself. Add in the increased use of auxiliary services (such as airport meet and greets, insurance, luggage shipping, and concierge services), as well as the GEO effect with apps giving you real time information while traveling, and you have the makings of a hassle-free trip from beginning to end and everything in-between.