Travel has always been about new and exciting experiences. Whether it involves different destinations, cultures, or activities, there is no shortage of opportunities for travel advisors to develop truly inspirational trips that create unforgettable memories for their clients. With the pandemic behind us and the global travel industry now in full recovery mode, we’re seeing more travelers going to great lengths and making significant investments to curate once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
The bar has certainly been raised. Chalk it up to pent-up demand, or to feelings of wanderlust, or just the desire to experience something new. Whatever the cause, travelers are interested in learning more about unique ways to spend their travel dollars. And that is where travel advisors can use their experience, insights, and industry relationships to deliver just what travelers want most.
One of the great motivators for travelers booking in 2023 has been celebratory travel, especially since so many people missed commemorating key milestones together over the past few years. “We continue to see strong demand/requests for big birthday trips - 50, 60, 70, 75,” said Michael Kahan of Kahan Travel Group. “Grandparents, with kids and grandkids type scenarios - usually Caribbean and Mexico beach-type trips. We also have a Sicily villa request for a big birthday multi-gen now. We have a few Africa, Galapagos, and one ‘what exciting far-flung place can we go for our 40th wedding anniversary’ request.”
Bookings for multigenerational trips have also picked up significantly following the release of those few years of pandemic lockdown. Families of two, three, and sometimes even four generations want to spend quality time together enjoying meaningful travel experiences and making lasting memories along the way. Some of these trips can become teaching tools that incorporate heritage travel to explore the family’s roots or sustainable travel to better understand the intricacies of our global ecosystem.
Travelers of a wide range of ages are also seeking transformational adventures that take them on outer and inner journeys, expanding their understanding of other cultures as well as their own personal awareness. Exploration travel, immersive local travel, and wellness travel fit the bill for rejuvenation and regeneration.
Among the hotspots for all of these types of travel are Italy, France, Greece, and the Caribbean/Mexico. Spain, Portugal, and Scotland have been gaining in popularity, with Croatia and Slovenia also gaining traction. On other continents, Japan, Australia, Thailand, and South Africa have reportedly been increasingly requested.
When helping clients decide where to go, Kahan says: “We try to be listeners first, be advocates and representatives rather than salespeople. If clients or potential clients want to travel to ‘an edgy destination’ or something out of their comfort zone, we need to make sure it truly suits them.”
And when travel advisors get it just right, booking a client, family, or group on their perfect vacation, there is a sense of satisfaction that cannot be matched by most other professions. Kahan explains: “My favorite part of my career is having the opportunity to make a difference. We treat each project - adventure, trip, journey - that we plan for clients as if it was our own. The hotels and guides and air tickets we are selling to clients are a commodity that they can find a thousand other places. The reason clients come back to us is because they know we truly care about them and the quality of their experiences.”
With travelers’ increased appetite for meaningful travel experiences comes a greater need for travel insurance. The more exotic or exciting the destination or experience, the higher the trip costs can be - and a potential likelihood that something could derail travel plans. To help protect your clients - and perhaps make you their hero just in case anything goes awry - it is important for travel advisors to always recommend that clients consider purchasing travel insurance from a trusted provider.
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