Catch The Next Wave of Travel Advisor Niches
In the past, travel agents sold every type of travel to every type of traveler. But in the past decade, more specialized approaches have come to the fore. Say hello to niche travel advisors, who handle specific sectors: luxury, outdoor adventure, culinary, wellness, family and beyond.
With the coronavirus still wreaking havoc on the industry, destinations and hospitality professionals should be on the lookout for the next wave of travel advisor niches. It’s a good way to keep tabs on what potential visitors are looking for, what they expect on their trips, and the trends they’re following. Travel advisors are the closest link to travelers themselves. Pay attention to emerging specialties and you’ll know what to highlight about your offerings; soon, you will have carved out your own niche.
The overarching travel advisor specialty we’re seeing rise to the top this year is – no surprise – domestic travel. Health and safety are being prioritized, and travelers are opting to stay in-state or at least close-to-home. One key takeaway from the All-American Roadshow virtual tradeshow experience late last month was the shift from long-haul vacations to domestic trips. According to a recent Flywire survey, phase one of travel’s comeback will be hyper-local. That means the classic road trip is back in a big way. Expedia.com reports that 85 percent of U.S. travelers are likely to take a road trip this summer. Additionally, interest in domestic summer stays is up 10 percent year-on-year, making up nearly 85 percent of hotel searches overall in June. Within this rise in the domestic travel space, we predict that the following micro-trends will grow with leaps and bounds:
The Return of RV Travel and Camper Vans
With road trips on the rise, the recreational vehicle (RV) is making a comeback, too. Families who want to take safe, socially distanced trips are causing a surge in demand for RVs, camper vans and airstreams/trailers. One telling stat: the peer-to-peer vehicle rental company RVshare reported that, since early April, RV bookings have increased by more than 1,600 percent. That’s a whole lot of RVs on the road.
Where does the travel agent fit in with the RV boom? Take a look at what Tracks & Trails does. The company works with travelers to create a personalized driving adventure, figuring out what they want and handling all of the details. This includes fully equipped RV rentals (if necessary), hotel reservations, campground reservations, maps, driving directions, and fun activities along the way. Whether a family is new to the RV scene or a seasoned camper van clan, Tracks & Trails works to streamline their road trip adventure.
We mentioned luxury before. Check out Goss RV. Since 2003, the company has been providing turnkey luxury motorcoach rental experiences. Goss RV boasts the largest fleet in the U.S., each vehicle meticulously maintained, smoke-free and available for rent stretches to 49 states and Canada. With different types of travelers looking to hit the road, these types of luxury offerings are surely going to proliferate in the years to come.
Accessible Travel Goes Mainstream
Accessible travel has been a hot topic in the travel world for some time now. But with public health top of mind these days, it may move even closer to the mainstream. In the post-COVID landscape, travelers will be reevaluating how they travel and may have more specialized needs. The tiny details of a destination or hotel will be more important than ever.
There are already travel agencies devoted to accessible travel. Travel For All is a company focused on making travel inclusive not exclusive. Their team of accessibility specialists are skilled at planning vacations for clients that deliver incredible experiences while staying mindful of any and all alternative travel requirements. And as we know, traveler expectations are changing rapidly. Look for more agencies to emerge in the future that focus on specific alternative travel needs — and ensure that your destination or hotel is prepared to meet those needs.
The Pet-Friendly Advisor
Over the past few months, you may have noticed an increase in dog-centric content on your social media feeds. It’s cute puppy overload! This trend isn’t a mystery. With the pandemic keeping people at home, there’s been a huge upsurge in pet adoptions. Some shelters emptied out for the first time in years. As a result, we anticipate more and more travelers will be exploring pet-friendly options in the near future and destinations and hotels that cater to animal lovers are likely to get much more love in the near future.
Top Dog Pet Travel creates custom vacation travel packages for animals and their people in great destinations throughout the globe. It’s about more than just finding pet-friendly hotel rooms. Pet-friendly travel advisors deal with all the details, whether it’s restaurants you can bring your dog to or attractions and activities that Fido will love.
Travel Advisor Niches: Takeaways
- Travel is becoming more and more diversified. Build relationships with travel agents who work in specific niches and you’ll reach specialized audiences.
- Domestic travel and road trips are going to be huge for the foreseeable future. Tourism and hospitality pros should be tailoring their offerings to fit into these types of vacations.
- Those who have paid attention to accessible travel requirements have a head-start in the post-COVID tourism landscape.
- Traveling with pets is going to be even bigger than before. Travel advisors are looking for destinations that can accommodate those requirements.
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