What is adventure travel and how can you sell it?

Adventure travel
By Linsey McNeill
Home » What is adventure travel and how can you sell it?

When you think of adventure travel you might imagine extreme activities such trekking up mountains, white-water rafting in ferocious rapids or horse riding across the desert, but actually it’s much more diverse.

In fact, the term ‘adventure travel’ covers everything from challenging hikes to leisurely food tours to luxury safari holidays and island-hopping.

Adventure tours can be for young, active travellers, but equally they can attract much older clientele looking for something more exciting than a fly-and-flop holiday.

Take specialist adventure travel Explore!, for example. Its 350 trips range from hiking in America’s Yosemite National Park to trekking to Everest Base Camp; from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to safaris in Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania; from sailing around the Greek islands or the Galapagos to food tours in destinations as diverse as Greece, Vietnam and South Korea.

Similarly, Intrepid says it offers a wide range of adventures to suit ‘all kinds of traveller’. “We specialise in small group tours, with a local tour leader to guide our travellers through authentic, experience-rich travel and allow them to connect with local cultures,” said Joanna Reeve, Head of Business Development and Partnerships EMEA.

Adventure travel is certainly a market worth getting your head round since it tends to attract repeat bookers and it can be lucrative. Explore said 55% of its customers are repeat and the average spend is an impressive £2,450 per person, per trip.

G Adventures says it caters for all age groups and all types of traveller, with tours ranging from classic sightseeing to sailing holidays to adrenalin-fuelled adventures. 

One of the key selling points for adventure holidays is that they tend to be more immersive than a beach package and really give clients the chance to explore a destination.  For example, G Adventures’ range includes Local Living trips, where guests stay put with a local community.

“Our CEOs (chief experience officers) who are all locally based, will introduce travellers to their own favourite restaurants, cafes and off the beaten track discoveries, experiences that are authentic and not easily realised other than in small groups,” it said.

“Staying local is important to G Adventures. It ensures that we are directly benefiting the communities, makingtravel a force for good. Plus, travelling with a small group not only gets you insider access, it also provides safety and support, and camaraderie with an instant squad of travelling companions.”

New for this year from G Adventures is The Geluxe Collection of 45 tours to 26 destinations offering clients active holidays but without sacrificing their usual creature comforts.

Explore! Business Development Manager Lisa Burton said: “If you have an enquiry from a customer looking for something immersive, unusual, off the beaten track or unique there is most likely a small group adventure that fits the bill.”

Selling tips

Think solo

Adventure tours can be a great option for single travellers, especially women who don’t want to explore on their own. Intrepid has a selection of female-led Women Expeditions in seven destinations including Turkey, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

G Adventures was one of the first operators to give solo travellers the chance to join a tour without paying a single supplement as it matches them up with same-sex roommates, or they can pay extra for their own room. On its Reina Silvia Voyager ship in the Galapagos, solo travellers have the option of a cabin to themselves at a reduced rate.

Lisa at Explore! said: “Think about any solo travellers that you have on your database; a small group trip is perfect for solo travellers, combining the safety and security of an expertly guided trip with the excitement of exploring a destination in depth.”

Find your focus

Intrepid suggests having ‘a handful’ of tours as your bread and butter, which could be ones you’ve experienced yourself, or just the most popular, such as its tour to Everest Base Camp or Peru’s Inca Trail Express.

Also, it’s worth focusing on markets most likely to seek out the services of a travel agent, such as women aged 50-plus. 

Share the wow factor

Show your customers some of the highlights of a tour, such as the stunning views from a particular point on a hike, and they’ll be more likely to book.

If you’re not sure what a tour involves, don’t be afraid to get in touch with the operator, use their trip information pages, check out their training videos and other resources.

Get to know your customer

Take the time to understand which adventure operator suits your customer. “Look at the age demographic, the accommodation style and the pace of trips to find the right fit for them,” said Lisa.

Always ask clients about their fitness levels and past adventure experiences too before you recommend a tour. 

Remember, families are adventurous too

Not all families want a beach holiday, in fact, many children easily get bored and would prefer an adventure tour instead. Look at discovery, wildlife, and activity trips that include soft adventure options such as rafting and kayaking, but always check the age restrictions.

Find out why now is a great time to sell touring holidays here.

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