If you’re a new travel consultant or looking to expand your business, it’s important to know the different types of traveller and how to target them.
By understanding the myriad motivations, preferences and behaviours individuals exhibit you’ll be able to create a service and reputation that will build repeat customers and referrals.
Understanding the different types of traveller
Travel agents play an integral role in shaping the travel experience for countless holidaymakers. Their influence stretches from when a traveller considers a journey to after they return. Over time, travel agencies have changed and diversified, becoming more specialised for the varying needs of travellers.
What are the different types of tourists?
- Backpackers – Typically younger individuals or those who are more budget-conscious. They tend to prefer hostels, local eateries and public transport but they also book group adventure tours, insurance and attraction tickets
- Luxury travellers – Travellers who seek out comfort and extravagance both in terms of flights, accommodation and experiences
- Cultural travellers – They travel to understand and immerse themselves in other cultures, traditions and lifestyles, often visiting historical sites, museums and festivals
- Adventure seekers – Travellers wanting to experience the adrenaline rush, whether it’s through mountaineering, white-water rafting or any other adventure sports
- Eco-tourists – Travellers who seek to travel responsibly and sustainably, often aiming to minimise their impact on the environment and local communities
- Foodies or gastronomy tourists – These tourists prioritise culinary experiences in their travel destinations
- Religious or pilgrimage travellers -These travellers visit religious sites or take part in religious ceremonies
- Medical travellers: These individuals travel primarily for medical treatments or procedures that might not be available, affordable or of the desired quality in their home country
- Group travellers – These tourists go as part of larger groups, for example multi-generation trips where grandparents go too, weddings, stag/hen trips, sports clubs
- Event travellers -They travel to attend specific events, be it sports, music festivals or any other significant events
- Educational travellers – Everything from study abroad programmes, educational tours or sabbaticals plus learning holidays (yoga, art etc)
- Business travellers – They travel for work purposes, attending meetings, conferences, seminars or other business-related activities
Navigating the overlaps in travel types
The evolving nature of travel experiences means that travellers no longer have to confine themselves to one label. They can be backpackers exploring local cuisines and attending a week-long workshop.
- Leisure meets business: The concept of “bleisure” is a prime example. Here, business travellers extend their trips to include leisure activities. A corporate executive might have meetings during weekdays but might choose to extend his or her stay over the weekend to explore local attractions, effectively blurring the lines between business and leisure travel
- Adventure in leisure: A family on a leisure trip might inject a little thrill into their holiday. While the primary goal might be relaxation, they might also choose to go on a trek, try parasailing or explore underwater diving. So, while they started as leisure travellers, they also tapped into the adventure category
- Cultural and educational synergy: Consider a student travelling abroad for an educational programme who is also profoundly interested in the local culture. While the primary purpose of their journey is academic, they might spend weekends exploring local historical sites, understanding traditions and even attending cultural festivals
- Eco-tourists with a touch of luxury: It’s a misconception that eco-tourists only camp in the wild and steer clear of comfort. Many luxury resorts today promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices. So, a traveller can experience the height of luxury while still caring for the environment
Types of business traveller
Business travel and leisure travel are two primary categories in the realm of travel, each with its distinct characteristics, motivations and experiences. While the line between them might sometimes blur, especially in today’s flexible and interconnected world, their core principles remain different.
The primary driver behind business travel is professional obligations. This could range from attending meetings, conferences and seminars to participating in client negotiations or on-site projects. Leisure travel is usually undertaken for relaxation, recreation or exploration. The motivation can stem from a need to escape routine, explore new cultures or simply rejuvenate.
Unpacking the different types of corporate travellers
Within the business travel sector, a spectrum of travellers exists, each with motivations, preferences and challenges.
- Routine business travellers – Familiar with travel routines, they usually have a preferred airline, know the airport lounges like the back of their hand and can pack for a trip in record time. Efficiency and maximising productivity during transit are their hallmarks
- Project-based travellers – Travellers who journey for specific work-related projects, often staying in one location for an extended period. Their stays are typically longer than regular business trips, often weeks or months. They might rent apartments or stay in long-term accommodation and often get more acquainted with the local culture and environment due to their extended stay
- Reluctant business travellers – Employees who travel for work but don’t necessarily enjoy the process. They could find the travel process cumbersome, be homesick, or simply prefer face-to-face meetings in familiar settings. Their trips are often characterised by a longing for routine and the comforts of home
- Bleisure travellers – Professionals who combine business travel with leisure time. After wrapping up their business meetings or conferences, they might take a day or two to explore the city, visit attractions or even extend their stay over the weekend. This allows them to recharge before heading back to work and also offers a more wholesome experience of the destination
Understanding the travel behaviour
By delving deep into the nuances of travel behaviour, industries can sculpt services that resonate more profoundly with their target audience. Such an understanding can revolutionise how tourism services are crafted, how marketing strategies are designed and how travel plans are laid out.
Enhancing tourism services
- Personalisation: Recognising distinct traveller types allows for tailoring services. For instance, a business traveller might appreciate expedited check-ins at hotels, while cultural travellers might value unique local experiences
- Feedback integration: Different travellers have varied expectations and pain points. Tourism providers can continually refine their offerings by gathering and integrating feedback from each group. For example, reluctant business travellers might prefer more efficient virtual meeting tools
- Efficiency in service delivery: Understanding travel behaviour can lead to improved efficiency when it comes to delivering the required travel service. For instance, routine business travellers could benefit from a subscription model for flight tickets
Sharpening marketing strategies
- Targeted campaigns: By distinguishing between different types of travellers, marketing campaigns can be more focused. Promotions for adventurous excursions might be directed towards adventure travellers, while luxury spa packages could target leisure travellers
- Segmented messaging: The same destination can appeal differently to various traveller types. A coastal city could be a business hub for corporate events and simultaneously a serene escape for leisure travellers. Marketing messages can be tweaked accordingly
- Data-driven decision making: Analysing the behaviour and preferences of different travellers can provide valuable data. This data can be used to forecast trends, allocate marketing budgets, and design promotional content
Refining travel planning
- Package customisation: Travel agencies can design packages that cater to the specific needs of different travellers. While a bleisure traveller might want a mix of business amenities and leisure activities, a project-based traveller might look for long-term accommodation deals
- Flexible itineraries: Understanding that some travellers, like the project-based or bleisure groups, might extend their stay can lead to the creation of flexible itineraries and options
- Resource allocation: Travel agencies and related businesses can allocate resources more efficiently. If a particular season sees a surge in leisure travellers, more resources can be dedicated to catering to their needs.
Making the most of traveller types
The realm of travel is as varied as the individuals embarking on journeys. We’ve discussed a myriad of traveller types, including routine business travellers who frequently fly for professional engagements to bleisure travellers seeking the best of both business and leisure,
Parallel to the evolution of traveller types is the development of travel agents. Just as travellers are diverse, travel agents have the flexibility to carve their niche or blend several to cater to a broader audience. Some agents might find their passion and expertise in curating luxury experiences. Others might craft memories for couples by focusing on weddings and honeymoons or choose to capitalise on the trend of destination parties in glamorous locales like Dubai and Las Vegas.
For those inclined towards the cruise sector, The Travel Franchise offers a dedicated Cruise Mastery Programme, allowing agents to immerse themselves in the intricacies of cruise travel. By aligning with such specialised programmes, travel agents enhance their expertise and cater to a specific group of travellers.
For agents wanting to throw the net wide and cater to an array of traveller types, it’s important that they align themselves with a company that facilitates and caters to all demands. The Travel Franchise allows its agents to book with more than 450 suppliers and has close ties with around 50 Key Trade Partners.
The travel industry’s dynamism reflects in its travellers and agents. The sector is a canvas, ever-changing and colourful. By aligning with platforms like The Travel Franchise, agents can recognise these shifts and position themselves at the forefront, ready to cater to every unique traveller and their dream journey.