As we all know, the tastes of the traveling public are changing and in our view, more and more people today are less interested in just seeing and being in a vacation destination and more and more interested in being a part of that vacation destination. The new paradigm is no longer going to be based on the idea of “getting away from it all,” but rather getting into the culture and the unique experiences the vacation destination has to offer.
In an issue where we would normally focus on adventure and active travel, we decided to take it one step further and put the focus on experiential travel—in short, travel that gives your clients unforgettable memories where they have the opportunity to touch and be touched by the cultures in which they’re traveling. Experiences like getting off the beach in Caribbean destinations and going into a local home to share a home-grown dining experience elbow to elbow with the cook in the kitchen and share stories with other locals dropping by for a cooking lesson. Or take some time to learn how to hand-roll cigars in Nassau. How about getting a fresh new look at Las Vegas, all based on the personal experience of a veteran travel writer and long-time traveler who’s lived and journeyed in the far-flung parts of the world for decades, yet never visited the storied “Sin City” until just last year?
You’ll find out how you can offer your clients the opportunity to stand watch in a basic tent camp deep in the depths of the African bush while a guide keeps them awake with jungle tales and shares stories about his culture. Come down to Mexico for a visit with families celebrating the “Day of the Dead,” commune with the whales and dolphins while staying in beachside yurts and send your Indiana Jones wannabes along with a well-known archaeologist to explore the past in little known, but important, ancient digs in the country.
How about sharing a memorable trip to Chile where clients can savor the experience of two of the most extreme environments in the world, all in one gloriously fascinating trip where getting to these beautiful, mind-blowing and awesome destinations trumps tours of some of the most storied cities in the world any day. There’s a whole lot more, too, that both you and your clients are going to love. And in your case, maybe see a lot more sales potential in terms of giving your clients a true travel experience instead of just a vacation, hopefully inspiring them to keep coming back for more.
dealing with misperception On a recent trip to Chile, taken a little over a month after the huge earthquake that struck Concepcion and Valparaiso, it wasn’t too surprising to learn from resorts, tour operators and other travel entities there that the global coverage they received hurt their business badly. The fact that damage was nothing in comparison to Haiti and was centralized with no damage in the rest of the country, didn’t stop people from canceling their vacation plans. Perception can make for deception and it’s important to go to the source so you can counter the fears generated by news coverage that focuses on the visual rather than the factual. We’re going to see a lot more of that as the Gulf oil crisis continues, so be prepared to have the facts, check with the destination entities themselves and save your sale. It’s just good business for everyone.
corrections In the June issue in the Caribbean Honeymoons story, on page 68, we posted an inaccurate phone number and website for Parrot Cay. The correct ones are (877) 754 0726 and parrotcay.como.bz, respectively. The information we listed is for The Sybaritic Concierge, a luxury travel agency that sells Parrot Cay. Sorry for the confusion.
We’re not finished digging up new travel experiences for you, because next month you’re getting a special Central America Supplement, a year-round guide to all the best travel experiences in that region. We’re also going to give you a host of onsite reviews from all over the world, including a look at Flanders and five-star Taiwan. In the meantime, have a great read.