Skift Take

Wade has been in tours and activities for many years and realizes that experiential travel is something that happens organically and over time rather than by brands attempting to go experiential without a real foundation or understanding of the sector.

Darrell Wade, CEO of Intrepid Group, spoke today at the Skift Global Forum.

Wade co-founded Intrepid Travel in 1989 with the goal of getting small groups of travelers into unique destinations for an affordable price. The company has since evolved into a collection of adventure travel businesses with more than 350,000 customers, who have traveled to more 100 countries.

Wade’s talk “Reinventing the Business of Tours for Experiential Travel,” explored how tours and activities have evolved to include authentic experiences travelers demand and expect. Here are four things we learned:

  • “It’s really tough for big mainstream operators to really get into the experiential space; it’s not really what they do.”
  • “Hotels spend an awful lot of time and money to make sure the experience is the same as the last time they were there and that it’ll be the same the next time they’re there. We’re almost the exact opposite, we have a formula for our values but we’re thinking how can we make things different each time.”
  • “People don’t really care about traveling responsibly at the beginning of a tour but by the end of the tour they say this is one of the top three reasons for what’s most important when they travel.”
  • Wade said it’s difficult to discern which tours and activities startups will succeed and which ones will fail, citing the success of Intrepid Group’s Urban Adventures brand and the fizzling of

Keep track of all the activity at this year’s Global Forum by bookmarking our #skiftforum tag.


And thanks to all the sponsors that made Skift Global Forum 2015 possible: Adobe, Amadeus, American Express, Boxever, Big Bus Tours, CendyneOne, Cheapoair, Criteo, Gogo, HelloGbye, Hornblower Cruises, MasterCard, Mindtree, National Geographic, NewsCred, Sabre, SiteMinder, Travel Channel, TurkeyHome, Uber, Underline, Virtuoso, and Yahoo.


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Tags: sgf2015, skift global forum

Photo credit: Darrell Wade (right) spoke at the Skift Global Forum with moderator Jason Clampet, Skift's co-founder and head of content, in Brooklyn, New York on October 14, 2015. Skift

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