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Earlier this month, Virtuoso released the results of its annual member survey. There was a lot of interesting information in the 2014 Virtuoso Luxe Report, and it highlighted one trend in particular that we have seen steadily growing in recent years.
According to a summary of the survey, “while multigenerational family travel maintains its stronghold as the top trend, active and adventure travel is the dominant trend predicted for all travelers — families, couples, honeymooners, retirees — in 2014.”
In fact, we have seen how this desire for adventure has affected all types of travel. Whether it’s tour operators looking to make itineraries more exciting, hotels creating programs that incorporate more authentic local flavor or, as you can read in this issue’s cover story, “Expedition Cruising Comes of Age,” the expansion of expedition cruising, many companies are striving for a more adventurous approach.
The reason this trend has had such a major impact on travel can be better understood in light of another result from the Virtuoso survey. When asked for the top five reasons people will travel in 2014, three of the five reasons fall within the scope of adventure travel: exploring new destinations, seeking authentic experiences in new destinations and personal enrichment. All three of these factors are fundamental to adventure travel, so it’s no surprise that companies are looking for ways to add adventure into their offerings.
The changes being made by travel suppliers are generally good news for agents. The more “unique” travel opportunities there are to book, the easier it is to find the perfect trip for every client. And clients will be looking for something to stand out from the pack. Whether it’s through online research, stories in the travel media or the advice of friends and family, consumers have a solid knowledge of what’s available in travel and they are not going to settle for ho-hum offerings.
As a result, travel agents need to stay in touch with suppliers, including cruise lines, to make sure that they are well aware of the next great program or a new approach to experiencing classic destinations. We have seen this adventure wave breaking for some time — now is the time to catch it.