There are an abundance of reasons why people travel. What motivates one person to schedule a trip may be completely different from what drives another traveler to embark on the same journey. However, most people would agree that the less stress that goes into traveling, the better.
Travel agencies, online travel agencies (OTAs) and tour operators are designed to make a challenging process easy. These companies are run by experts who know the ins and outs of the tourism industry, and who can plan a perfect trip to fit their customers’ wants and needs.
With so many types of tourism, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which type of traveler your travel company should cater to. To ensure that your business runs smoothly, it is wise to gain a strong understanding of the main categories and classification of travelers as well as the opportunities and risks that come along with offering your travel company’s services to them.
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In this essay, we will outline three of the main 3 types of travelers who use travel agents: business travelers, leisure travelers, and special interest travelers.
People who travel for work or business purposes. These travelers commute from their home to their workplace.
Commuters have a very specific way of traveling; they have a focus on convenience and punctuality. These travelers operate on strict schedules, planning their entire trip around the times of meetings, conferences, and events. They require high-speed internet access to stay connected while working on the go, and also prefer desks in their hotel rooms to get their work prepared. The hotel they reside in should be in close proximity to their workplace, for convenience.
Opportunities for Travel Agents:
Corporate travel is a trillion-dollar industry. In the United States, close to 1.1 million people travel on work trips every single day. These travelers want a seamless experience, with as little stress as possible. That is where you come in to help.
People traveling for work want to focus on their business and not on the logistics of their trip. This is a perfect opportunity for a travel agent to book a hotel room with amenities that will have the professional forgetting he is even outside his home city. This is why it’s important to understand what is a booking system and how to use it properly.
Some commodities business travelers like to see: breakfast included in the mornings so they can fuel up for their workday, coffee in the lobby to keep them on their toes, and a fitness facility so they can let off steam and power their brain. If your team can book a room that allows a business traveler to solely focus on their work, you will have a happy and productive customer.
People who commute to their workplace tend to travel frequently. To attract customers to become loyal, recurring clients to your company, offering a loyalty program is a good idea. This will keep the traveler invested in your company, wanting to use you more and more as they acquire royalties.
Risks for Travel Agents:
If you play your cards right, an entire company may use your services to plan the trips of their thousands of employees. However, if something goes astray, it can quickly switch from thousands of business trips to schedule for one company to none. You should be aware that there are risks in travel agency business.
There is no room for mistakes when it comes to business travel, for most meetings will not wait for a late participant. Everything needs to be accounted for and fit into the schedule ahead of time. If the traveler is delayed, a business deal may not happen and that can cost the traveler a lot of money, time, and effort wasted.
Because travelers are leaving their homes and oftentimes going somewhere across the world, there are health risks that should be thought about ahead of time. Sickness, accidents, and tragedies do not get put on hold while someone is on a business trip. To best protect the business travelers, you may consider suggesting the company gets Business Travel Accident (BTA) insurance.
Overall, as long as your travel company provides a trip that is focused on punctuality and convenience, the business traveler should be content.
Travelers who are seeking a break from everyday life. Leisure travel has a focus on recreation, entertainment, and pleasure.
People who partake in leisure travel tend to be either solo travelers or traveling with their immediate family. These trips are centered around relaxation, sightseeing, exploring, and having a good time.
Some characteristics of leisure trips include eating at nice restaurants, staying in classy hotels, relaxing by a pool or beach, tourist attractions, and venturing to new parts of the world.
On the other hand, some leisure travelers prefer to really focus on the place and not the materialistic aspects of vacationing by backpacking through a new city, staying in hostels, avoiding the tourist-filled areas, and connecting with the roots of the location. This is an experience only the top online travel agencies can provide.
Opportunities for Travel Agents:
Clients traveling for leisure provide an abundance of opportunities for a travel agent to make the trip as special as possible. Typically, a tourist will need some help deciding how to maximize their time while away.
A cruise is a good option for a traveler who wants to relax and unwind without the stress of planning their itinerary. Cruises provide transportation, food, entertainment, and a room to live in all with one purchase. It is a wise choice to recommend this type of vacation for a family who needs a break from their hectic daily schedule.
Typically, a customer will have a location in mind but needs help figuring out how to spend their days. This is an opportunity for an experienced traveler to recommend the must-see spots, the restaurants with the best menus, and activities that will have the whole party having a blast. Your travel agency can work to put together a well thought out plan for how the travelers will get the most bang for their buck while in the destination.
When people hear the word “leisure,” the image that comes to mind is relaxing by a pool, with a book in hand and floppy hats on their heads. Having a selection of resorts to recommend to leisure travelers will set you on a good path for securing a deal. A hotel in a sunny city, near a gorgeous beach, with a spa and fitness center will be your ticket into a leisure traveler’s heart.
Risks for Travel Agents:
Working with leisure travelers proposes minimal risks. Typically, the vacation will run smoothly and if there is a hiccup, there are not many repercussions because the schedule is relaxed anyway.
The main thing to be aware of is the growing use of online forums for customers to leave reviews. Websites like TripAdvisor provide an easily accessible platform for people to praise your company, but also publicly call it out if it makes a mistake.
The online world has made ruining reputations a walk in the park, and disappointed customers don’t hesitate to discourage others from using a certain company.
Special Interest Travelers
Special interest tourism is tailored to the specific needs and wants of the traveler. Special interest tourism is about gaining an enriching experience that applies directly to the interests of the tourist.
The characteristics of special interest travelers range widely, for it is based solely on the preferences of the traveler. Examples include culinary trips, meditation trips, religious trips, cultural trips, and a variety of other options. The thing these travelers all have in common is a strong passion for something and the desire to travel the world to dive deeper into this passion.
Opportunities for Travel Agents:
First things first, find out the goal of the vacation – Is it to relax and unwind? Is it to explore and learn? Is it to hit the major tourist attractions and have an action-packed time? Once you figure out what the intention is for the trip, you can make accommodations.
A good way to tailor a trip to your client is to plan tour packages that will spark their interest. Special interest travelers tend to appreciate packages because they are cost-efficient and focus specifically on what they are interested in.
A classic special-interest package is an adventure package. This would include all the must-see tourist attractions of the destination. Safairies, white-water rafting, zip-lining, rock climbing – this will grab the attention of the risk-takers who venture to your website. By offering the most thrilling activities, you are bound to give your customers the trip of a lifetime.
Wellness tourism is a wildly popular section of travel. These specific trips focus on health, paying close attention to physical and mental wellbeing. For these clients, travel agents will make bookings according to wellness – hotels with fitness amenities, restaurants with health-conscious menus, and locations with fresh air to breathe.
Someone seeking medical assistance may look into a travel agent. Medical tourism is driven by a need for medical assistance in a location that the patient does not live. The treatment is not available in their hometown, there may be more skilled doctors elsewhere, or maybe it is cheaper to get it done somewhere else; No matter the case, the patient has a lot on their mind already, they do not want the added stress of transportation or hotel bookings.
Risks for Travel Agents:
When working with a special interest tourist, there is some risk associated with having to be the middleman for the customer and the tours, excursions, and activities being scheduled. This is why many rely on travel host agency services.
The client is trusting you and your company to choose reliable options to work with and this is when the importance of tour operators comes in place. If something goes wrong, the customer will go to you to ask why, so make sure you have open communication with both parties. It is a good idea to have a selection of companies you know you can trust to provide your customers with top-notch services.
You also do not want to get stuck in between a last-minute cancellation from either party. Be sure you give specific dates about when cancellations are acceptable and when there will be a cost associated with the act. As long as you present all information, there should be no confusion when it gets close to the date of the scheduled activities.
Another risk associated with special interest travelers is unforeseen medical issues. When a trip is focused on being adventurous, about trying new foods, or especially about having a medical procedure done, unfortunate events can take place.
The best way to avoid all unforeseen issues is to encourage travelers to purchase travel insurance. This will have your traveler’s back in an unfortunate circumstance, although hopefully it never has to be used.
You Help Travelers, Let Hotelmize Help You
Hotelmize works hard to let travel agencies focus on what they do best, while we focus on what we do best. Our high-tech algorithms are designed to optimize profits for your company.
Our solution runs in the background of your company seamlessly, re-booking hotel rooms to capture them at their lowest price. This provides the same room and amenities, if not more, for a lower cost and higher profit.
Contact us for more information, and we wish you the best of luck with catering to your customers.
Marc, who graduated from Balearic Is. University of Tourism, is an experienced Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the leisure, travel & tourism industry. His skills in Negotiation, Hospitality Management, Customer Service, Sales, and Hotel Management, make him a strong business development professional in the Travel Industry.