While thinking about experience based tourism as the future of tourism, it is something that has been talked about quietly for years now, however, only recently started to live in the tourism community.
If we would put it in a definition on the words experience-based tourism it would be the following: it indicates a type of tourism that is different from more conventional tourism (Stamboulis & Skayannis, 2003) and is characterized with offerings with a relatively high degree of differentiation and intangible value perceived by the customers at a certain place and in a certain time. ( Øystein Jensen & Nina Prebensen (2015) Innovation and Value Creation in Experience-based Tourism, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 15).
What does it mean basically? It means to bring value with your service to the client at a certain time and place.
Well, in the last couple of years, the structure of customers has changed. No more massive tourism waves that are only interested in the sun and sea.
Today, the customer is searching for an experience on their holiday. They want to emerge in the culture she or he is visiting.
Try to inspect it on yourself. When you go somewhere on a trip do you want to experience as much as you can on the destination ? And in the process learning about the place you are visiting?
This trend has been a long time coming and it is getting bigger and bigger in all aspects of tourism.
To market a product, service, or destination you need a good story. A good hook that can appeal to the customer to use/come to you.
You can see it in everyday examples from Airbnb (ultimate experience-based tourism site) to smaller companies on the destination. There can be for example fishing experience, climbing, snorkeling, etc.
If you look at it, those are all experiences that you have while traveling.
So how and why did the trend change?
Well, it can be linked to sustainable tourism as well. While massive tourism was at its peak in the 1980s, nobody really thought about the sustainability of the destination and preserving the natural beauties. Today, with global warming and climate change, more destinations are turning to sustainability rather than massive waves.
Because of that experiences are important than ever.
With the proper marketing message of an experience, a destination can fulfill the sustainability goal, and have tourists that are emerging in the culture rather than devastating it.
There is quite a lot of young companies (startups) that have already taken this trend into consideration and are making their own product around it.
One of the examples that are on the right trail is Sebastus Sailing with their Foodie & Wine Route.
They have combined a vacation in Croatia with an experience such as sailing and added even more value to the client with food and wine integrated in their service.
Just imagine 7 days of island hopping, swimming and sunbathing in private bays, relaxing on the deck and enjoying the best wineries and restaurants in Croatia.. Sounds like an experience you need!
This company is a great example of an experience-based tourism and it shows also that there is no more B2B, B2C approach, it is only H2H- human to human.
With this approach, a company is set to have a great experience-based product that is vital to bringing value to the customer. At the end, that is what it is all about : Experience=value
What are your thoughts about this trend?
I look forward to hearing it.
Till next week,
Keep it digital and sail away.