PHOTO: A traveler standing on a cliff in the Icelandic Highlands. (photo via Gudella/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

CRA Travel News – USA

Adventure Travel is well-positioned to lead the way to the industry’s recovery, according to travel advisors and suppliers. The inherent characteristics of that segment—smaller groups, remote destinations and localization—all fit with the way the new world of touring seems to be shaping up.

The growth in adventure travel was in place well before the pandemic. Susan Sparks, owner of Points of Interest Travel, a Virtuoso agency in Aspen, Colo., said there has been an increasing interest in adventure travel, much of it involving multigenerational groups. That growth is due to the fact that the very definition of the category has evolved over the years—from trips requiring strength, stamina and risk to “being immersed in a culture,” she said.

Changing Demographics

Bonnie Lee, president of Travel Quest Network, a host agency that is a franchisee of Travel Leaders Network and part of the WorldVia Travel Group, said that suppliers have learned that adventure “is not just for young people who want to bungee jump—it’s for all of us.”

Advisors may need to reframe how they traditionally sell travel and share the positive impact that adventure travel has on the world, said Jeremy Brady, national sales manager-U.S.A, for G Adventures, adding that a shift toward community-based tourism will help advisors convince clients they are part of something bigger.

Customers’ Comfort Zone

Adventure travel, Sparks said, means “going slightly outside of your comfort zone in many ways.” She added, “Someone might love to do a tenting experience at an Aman resort—but not a tent on the Colorado River. It’s always important to find out the client’s comfort zone.”

And just as “access” has become a key word in luxury travel, it is also increasingly important for adventure. Clients might want to go fly-fishing, and it’s critical to know which operators that will best meet their needs, Sparks said.

And there are signs of activity in the adventure category. G Adventures has families booking its National Geographic Family Journey Experiences in North America and Costa Rica, some with departures as soon as late 2020, Brady said.

Customized Groups

Bucket-list trips like small-ship cruising in the Galapagos and Antarctica are increasing in sales. Another option that fits the times, said Brady, are G Adventures’ TailorMade experiences that provide customized travel for groups as small as one or two people.

Today, travelers want to know that they, and their money, are helping to make a positive change, Brady said. Adventure travel done right can accomplish that. “Think about coming back with that message post-pandemic,” he said. “Travelers will be more inclined to be part of that change.”

Become an Adventure Expert

Education is important, and travel advisors should look to suppliers for their adventure specialist courses, said Bonnie Lee of Travel Quest Network, a host agency. “Consumers will see through you if you’re blowing smoke. Just because you haven’t climbed Everest or hiked the Appalachian Trail doesn’t mean you can’t sell adventure travel.”

Lee said 50 of her affiliated agents have completed the Travel Leaders Network adventure specialist program, “which is not an easy course.”

The Travel Leaders Network Active & Adventure travel specialization is ideal for advisors who are passionate about adventure travel or have clients who are, said Lea Diele, senior director of educational services. Those who graduate from the specialist courses receive five times more leads than advisors who don’t, she added.

Article Credit to Travel Pulse.