LACEY PFALZ | TravelPulse.Com
Troy Warren for CNT #Travel
We’ve covered why travel advisors should consider specializing in a travel niche as well as some tips as to how advisors can choose their niches in previous articles, but new data suggests that niche tourism is growing among travelers, and among the younger generations of travelers specifically.
GlobalData recently published a report entitled, “Niche Tourism, 2022 Update – Thematic Research,” which compiles data from its consumer surveys from 2018, 2019 and 2021 to measure the change in traveler sentiment across time.
The report found that niche tourism – travel that focuses on fulfilling the specific and personalized needs of a traveler, whether that be a yoga or wellness retreat, an active adventure tour structured around remote working or a vacation centered around a destination’s gastronomy – was growing most rapidly among the younger generations, Gen Z and Millennials.
These travelers, who were born between 1991 and 2005 and were designated as ‘Generation Hashtag’ in the report, showed the highest percentages of all age groups for one question: whether or not a product that was tailored to their needs influenced them to choose that product. Twenty-seven percent of Gen Z respondents and 26 percent of Millennials responded that it always influenced their product choice; that they would always prefer a personalized product over a more generalized, one-size-fits-all one.
This focus on wanting personalized travel services that fit lifestyle, preferred travel styles and more in these generations is three percent higher than the global average, which might indicate a growing trend among the younger generations.
The report also touched on some of the different types of niche travel and whether or not the desire for them grew from 2018 to 2021. Trips focusing on adventure, gastronomy, LGBTQ+, wellness or eco-friendly travel grew the most over the four years.
“Young adults yearn for more engaging and meaningful experiences. As such, perceived value is rarely down to just cost,” said Craig Bradley, Associate Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData. “Travel and tourism companies operating in niche sectors must focus on Generation Hashtag within marketing campaigns. This highly differentiated market could act as the deciding factor in specialist companies’ recovery and future growth.”
Why might younger generations prefer niche-style travel? Experiences are more important to these generations than other factors, including cost. These two generations also use social media with an influencer mindset, often showcasing little-known hacks, destinations or venues with their followers, which can in turn influence other travelers into wanting more unique trips, destinations and experiences to showcase to their followers.
Another question you might ask is this: how does one find niche travel? That depends, but the biggest tip we can give is to check in with a travel advisor. Travel advisors are uniquely knowledgeable, and many specialize in travel types, destinations and even specific brands.
While the agent you pick might not specialize in the same travel niche you as a traveler would like, he or she will be able to point you in the right direction, whether that be towards a small-ship river cruise line focusing on gastronomy excursions throughout Europe or a tour operator focusing on younger travelers with a mind on the most Instagrammable attractions in Southeast Asia.
Another piece of advice is to first figure out which travel style and niche you actually want to experience, as well as the questions you should answer as you plan your trip. Travelers wanting an immersive vacation experience in just one destination might consider a tour with an operator that focuses on immersion and experience, or an FIT trip, while travelers wanting an eco-friendly vacation should consider factors like reducing carbon emissions while traveling, which can be done by reducing the distance a traveler goes via ship or plane, among other things.
The younger generations, soon to become the dominant ones in the travel industry, are leading the growth in niche travel. Who knows what other fun travel trends they’ll share with us next? Either way, it’s clear that niche travel is here to stay.