Experiential Tourism: what it is and what it is for
For a long time tourism has remained tied to a standard holiday concept: holiday was meant as an opportunity for leisure and relaxation, to take a break from daily routine, maybe in a new place. All of this hand in hand with a kind of tourism conceived for the masses: operators were focused on offering standardized packages designed for wide, uniform groups. Now no longer.
Nowadays the tourist focus isn’t only on where to go but especially on what to do. Of course you choose a specific destination, but you choose it also because in that place it’s possible to devote yourself to a specific activity. Tourists don’t want just to relax or see new places, they want to try new experiences, they wish to learn, discover and discover themselves, test themselves, get to know personally, experience, get 100% inside a place.
Nowadays holidays are increasingly understood as occasion of enrichment and discovery, among cultural tours, ancient hobbies, cooking classes or outdoor activities. In other words, tourists want their holiday to leave a mark, they want to go back home not anymore just with the pictures and videos of what they have seen, but also and especially with the memories of what they have experienced personally.
Experiential Tourism: what it is
This new trend of the tourism 3.0 has a name: it’s called Experiential Tourism. “Experiential” because tourists in 2017 need to go on holiday and try new experiences, they wish to engage in stimulating, original activities, choosing according to their own tastes and passions.
Data seem to confirm it. According to a monitoring survey of tourist trends lead by TripAdvisor in 2016, among the 50.000 interwieved travelers, 71% state they want to leave to “widen their horizons”, 55% to “search for unique, interesting experiences”, 44% to “enrich their cultural knowledge”, 36% to “get into the local culture”.
Those looking for this form of experiential tourism is generally an independent traveler – a target highly increasing in the latest years – who, with the help of the la proliferation of travel web-sites and blogs, know how to make use of the Internet to find the most suitable proposals and ideas based on their needs.
Experiential Tourism and territory
With the increase in the desire of new experiences also increases the desire of interaction with the territory, to establish a strong tie and dig personally into the traditions, habits and specifities of a place, restoring its authenticity and originality.
Those choosing the experiential kind of tourism are searching for experiences closely linked with the territory they are about to visit: hence the importance, for tourist operators, to be able to offer and communicate at best their destination. Each destination must be able to tell about itself openly to be desiderable, interesting, sincere and original (what distinguishes our destination from another ? Why tourists should choose us? What is our target audience?).
Hence the desire, by tourists, to take part into a cooking lesson, a cultural tour, a tasting or an excursion which aren’t generic, but specifically marked as local.
Experiential Tourism and customization
With the evolution of the experiential tourism, tourists are no longer content with pre-packaged packages or standard offers: they look for something specific, searching for highly personalized offers, with specific services meeting their needs and requests (otherwise they will look elsewhere).
Also here qui a big effort is requested to tourism operators: offering customized, tailored products, built on the preferences of the client, preferences that, if possible, it’s better to be able to intercept and foresee.