Togetherness tourism serves niche markets and local business
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Togetherness tourism is making a splash in the travel business.
Couples longing to reconnect or strengthen their relationships are taking experiential vacations that leave them with lingering memories they can bring home. Marrieds are making stir-fry together in Thai cooking classes in Bangkok, hovering in a cable car above an ancient site in Peru, and hitting the waves with surfing lessons in Hawaii.
The tourism world is seeing an uptick in togetherness tourism as couples are using niche and cultural travel as a bonding experience that lasts long after the get away has gone away. And, for the destination, aiming experiences at couples is smart business.
Large and small destinations can attract togetherness seekers
The bigger, more popular destinations are not excluded from the latest couples travel trend. When couples go to big cities like New York, Los Angeles or London, they're making a special effort to look for districts where they can find a cultural or education-based experiences.
Cultural tourism accounts for 37 percent of all travel today, according to the latest stats, and couples represent the demographic spending the most on this type of travel.
Finding interesting experiences
While online booking agents can give a general idea of what the tourist wants, travel agents may have real person-to-person connections in the desired locales.
To book the perfect together travel adventure, travel agents say first take a look at what you and your partner want to learn. Are you both interested in photography? Are you interested in learning a language or regional-style cooking?
Look for a destination that has a vital connection to what you want to learn. In the case of Shelly and John McNamara, who wanted to learn about sailing, they booked a trip to Newport, R.I., and immersed themselves in the local community, checking out museums, stores and historical sailing tours.
Offbeat art and music lovers visiting Los Angeles have the opportunity to check out any one of several small art galleries in revitalized downtown areas of Los Angeles and San Diego. There is a push in Los Angeles and San Diego to attract visitors to more than just the well-known theme parks, movie studios and beaches. Tourism bureaus are looking to attract visitors to the growing downtown areas of both coastal cities.
Making business friendly to cultural tourism
Tourism is one of the world's leading industries — valued at $7.6 trillion as of 2016 — and local businesses can take advantage of capturing tourism dollars brought in by togetherness travel.
Couples — and singles looking for romance — are increasingly seeking more interesting vacations that are immersive in local culture, where they can learn something and get an educational or experiential takeaway. And while they are willing to spend, there is a higher likelihood of attracting together travelers by marketing a special experience with a special incentive.
Marketing specialists are pushing the virtue of putting special "coupons" and referral codes on various online promotions company websites. While sites like Airbnb may represent competition to tried-and-true hotel brands, often on these types of sites there are not only rooms for rent, but also local experiences that are culturally embedded to the community.
Experts say it is not difficult to cater to the togetherness tourism trend — whether your travelers are from across the country or the county. More and more couples are looking for staycations, and staying local can bring rewards on its own.
It's a popular trend to take a hotel for a few nights in the same county; it saves money and time for many busy people who long to take a few days — or hours — away together.
Couples who stay in-area are likely to tip better, and tend to frequent the small business, knowing there is a vested interest in supporting their own community on some level.
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