• 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Understanding the Traveling Public

Written by  Douglas Cooke

Understanding why your customer wants to travel is equally, if not more important than knowing where they want to go. This was a common theme at two of the year’s best conferences, that JAX FAX attended in December. During the USTOA Annual Conference, the results of a recently completed project exploring the reasons people travel were announced. Also, at the Signature Travel Annual Sales Conference, generation research expert Jason Dorsey explained to a packed house how different age groups perceive the process of vacation planning.

Why We Travel
USTOA (US Tour Operators Association) recently embarked on a project to determine the reasons why people travel. “The first question people typically ask when planning a vacation is ‘where do I want to go?’ But knowing what travelers want to get out of their trip is equally as important as the destination,” said Terry Dale, CEO and president of The United States Tour Operators Association. “Our tour operator members believe it’s critical to ask “why,” finding the emotional connections people seek when exploring the destinations and cultures they plan to visit.”
Customers taking a variety of USTOA tour operator member trips were interviewed to determine their motivations to travel. Some of the answers included: “for fun, for adventure, to better understand history, to experience other cultures, to see wondrous sites - but mostly because it helps me understand the world better”, “I love meeting new people, eating new foods and visiting historical buildings. For me It’s about trying to absorb the whole picture of a country”, “I travel because the world is a huge and amazing place. It makes you feel alive because you’re touching as much of it as you can,” and “Travel helps me be a better person. It gives me perspective on what’s important to other people and why.” Gaining a better understanding of the world and people around us was clearly a primary motivation for these travelers.

Understanding The Millennial Traveler
Signature Travel revealed the results of a survey they undertook to help their member agencies better understand the Millennial traveler. Heading this project, and presenting the results was Jason Dorsey, President and Co-Founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics. Jason was referred to by AdWeek as a “research guru.” Dorsey is considered the leading Millennial and Gen Z researcher and expert in the world. I was surprised to find that this age group, those between 22 and 40, are the largest group in the work force and are the biggest group of prospective travelers. They also happen to be the group most likely to use a Travel Agent.
So how to reach this demographic? What are they looking for? According to Dorsey, a critical question to ask a prospective millennial customer is: what it is they don’t want in a vacation. What they do want in general are unique and individual experiences. Start by showing them the experience they will have through use of non-commercial video and pictures. Since you have already asked what they don’t want, now is the time to show your expertise and tell them what they do want. One final tip from Dorsey was by all means, do NOT refer to them as millennials.
Understanding your customers’ motivations and motivators as a traveler will help you create the unique and life enriching experiences that are the reason they are seeking your assistance.
As 2017 comes to a close, the staff at JAX FAX looks to 2018 with great anticipation. All indications are that 2018 should be a banner year for the travel industry. How will you get your piece of the pie?
My very best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead for all of us lucky enough to make our living in this great industry.

Consolidator Search Engine
NOTE: Search uses Airport Codes (ie: ORD vs. CHI). Lookup Airport Codes Here
162x135 general 8 JaxFax-Banner
20180202 Italy Charme
JaxFaxBanner 3 165x132banner02272018
imex-banner-300x250-v2(1) jaxfaxmagazine dec 2014 animated
EcoAmerica-Web-Banner-Jaxfax SITA0112sp
Banner GIF-File Jul2017 1st-Revise
Developed by Interwave Concepts, Inc.