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The Monk, the Monastery and the Road of Experiential Travel

Jun 06, 2014 7:30 am

Skift Take

The most forward-thinking travel brands are delivering these types of experiences by focusing on three things above all else: inspiration, personalization and a path toward self-discovery.

— Rafat Ali

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ryanne lai  / Flickr

Children in Bhutan. ryanne lai / Flickr


Few phrases in the history of tourism have been co-opted by travel brands as much as “experiential travel.” Seemingly every company today operating in the hospitality and tourism sector is marketing itself as an experience versus a product, based on rising demand from consumers for more authentic and engaging travel experiences.

Note: This is an extract from our brand new FREE report, The Rise of Experiential Travel, download the report here for free, to get the full goodness!

This report examines how top travel brands are developing their services to answer that demand, and how that’s driving the evolution of adventure/active travel and rampant interest in local cultural immersion.

Underpinning all of this, technology has created an environment where we can watch people in our social networks visiting amazing places around the globe every minute of every day. For many travelers, seeing so many other people accomplish their travel goals, it inspires them to imagine and purchase their own travel experiences often aligned with those of their network peers.

This social media envy, sometimes referred to as the “Instagram Effect,” has a powerful impact on travel consumer behavior that travel marketers are trying to understand and exploit with increasingly sophisticated strategies.

As technology evolves and networks grow in widening circles, there’s also a qualitative shift happening where it’s no longer just about trekking to Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan or sipping Malbec in Mendoza. It’s about how we experience those places viscerally, and how they change us when a monk or winemaker provides a new way to understand our world.

The most forward-thinking travel brands are delivering those types of experiences by focusing on three things above all else: inspiration, personalization and a path toward self-discovery. Travelers in this seamlessly connected era, from backpackers to billionaires, want to feel inspired by the places they visit and the people they meet, while pushing past preconceived notions of different cultures, both near and far, to become more dynamic and informed citizens.

Equally paramount, today’s most savvy travelers of all ages want to experience that transformative journey in a way that is wholly their own. In the end we are all searching for something. We’re all seeking our monk, and experiential travel is becoming a preferred road to the monastery.

Get a peek below, and download the full report here, free!

Download the Report, Free!

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