6 Reasons Why Niche Marketing is going to be the Key to Success for Travel Agencies in the Future
We are living in a high-speed world where trends change every day, and travelers’ habits are no exception. Be it a young traveler or a senior traveler, everyone craves for new experiences. You know “the kind of experiences” crafted just for them.
When a product or service is made just for “YOU”, the decision to buy becomes more compelling. After all, who does not like to feel special and wish to receive services from an expert. Looking at the modern-day traveler’s behavior and competition in the industry, it has become extremely crucial for travel agencies to focus on a niche to survive the cut-throat competition and stay relevant in the future.
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In this article, we will deep dive into the importance of niche tourism and the most trending niche markets travel agencies can target to compete against OTAs going forward.
1) Different motives drive people to travel
Modern travelers are not just looking to travel; they are looking to indulge in experiences they have never had before. They don’t want to be the “passive observers” anymore. Their personal interest motivates their travel plans. Most travelers wish to dive deep into the experience – feel and relate to the customs, cuisines, and traditions of a specific certain region.
Their preferences can be as specific as “I want to do sky diving in New Zealand”, “I want to see Northern Lights in Iceland”, “I want to spend New Year’s Eve in New York” or “I want to see the iconic Eiffel tower on my honeymoon”.
Since today’s traveler is so vocal about his or her preferences, it makes sense for travel agencies to understand what motivate people to travel, and then, carve a niche for themselves. And remember that you don’t have to be the jack of all, as the risk of becoming the master of none is quite huge.
2) Focused Marketing yields Higher Conversions
If you are targeting a niche travel market, say “50 + adventure travelers in a certain region” you can easily zero-in your audience and formulate a very focused marketing strategy. Simply put, the more defined the niche you have, the more refined your marketing can become.
Since you have highly targeted demographics, your communication will become more specific and meaningful. It will become easier for you to market and sell your travel service because you are laser-focused on one area. When people visit your marketing channels, they won’t be confused and overwhelmed with choices.
3) Increasing Competition from Emerging Niche Tour Operators
According to Google/Phocuswright, 2017, “57% of travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors”. And hence the emerging travel agents leave no stone unturned to meet the personal preferences of travelers.
Travel trends show that globetrotters are becoming more attentive towards the environment, so much that one-third of them are looking for an eco-friendly holiday. Theresa Jackson, the CEO of Enlightened Journey Travel, says that whether my client wants a luxury experience or a life-changing transformational experience, either can be achieved with responsible tourism. She says her philosophy #TravelforGood make her stand out from the crowd.
Another popular niche is adventure travel which tickles the fancy of people from a wide age group around the world. More than 95% of travel specialists have confirmed in a 2016 Virtuoso survey that active, adventure and specialty travel sales are on the rise in the past 12 months—and they anticipated that the demand will keep increasing. Also, the most common type of adventure travelers are couples, and surprisingly, the highest number of adventure travelers are between the age of 50 and 65.
Another interesting study by Trip Advisor reveals that 53% of pet owners prefer to travel with their pets. Travel agencies such as BringFido.com and TripswithPets.com specialize in this niche and strive to book perfect tours for pet parents.
4) Lower Cost, Higher Impact
Now, this is not rocket science. When you focus on niche marketing, sending personalize communication to your target segment becomes easier and chances of skyrocketing your ROI are quite high. Large OTAs such as Expedia and Booking.com that follow a mass market approach have massive budgets which most travel agencies don’t have.
Being a niche tourist agency, you can funnel your budget to your ideal customers who are more receptive to your marketing messages. Your marketing strategy will be influenced by the demographics and buying behaviors of your customers. You will exhaust lesser budget to understand which marketing strategy works or does not work for your target niche.
5) Less Competition because you are an Expert
If you become a leader in your travel niche, you can focus on how to enrich your customers experience rather than worrying about what your competitors are up to. And, you anyway stand out of the clutter, as you have tailor-made tours that will give you higher visibility. Your personalized tours will allow you to form an emotional connection with your customers and become their go-to travel agent. Lower competition by virtue of being an expert would also lend itself to higher margins for your business, particularly if you’re targeting affluent travelers that don’t mind paying more for unique experiences.
Claiming to be an expert in all things travel would be unrealistic. Instead, hone your expertise to a level where it’s easy for you to convince your customers that you are a leader in your niche market. And believe it or not, there will be many times when your ideal customers will be able to find you and become your loyal or repeat customers.
6) More opportunities for client referrals
There is a saying “a happy customer is an effective brand ambassador”. A traveler who is drawn to a specific niche is most likely to be a member of a club or an online community of people who share similar interest. For instance, an avid hiker who is happy with his recent tailor-made hiking tour will be upbeat to share his fabulous experience at his next hiking trip. This makes referral marketing a powerful way to endorse your travel business.
Thriving travel niches you can target
While niche tourism has become as focused as “international golf travel tours” or “music travels”, there are travel markets a lot of budding travel agencies have been aiming at.
- Honeymoon travel is one of the most lucrative travel niches, as every honeymooner wishes to travel with an expert without taking chances. Honeymoons being a $12 billion-dollar-a-year industry, travel agencies focusing on this niche can very well gauge the stakes.
- With high-tech support and innovative planning, travel industry for disabled travelers is booming and opportunities for disabled travelers have more opportunities to explore than ever.
- Pet travelers are looking for travel experts who can organize seamless trips for them with their collared companions. Travelers are willing to spend extra to bring beloved pets on their holidays.
- Spiritual tourism is all set to shine as a travel trend, especially in India. A lot of foreign tourism thronging India for exquisite spiritual experiences. It has been analysed that tourism will boost the Indian tourism economy from 15.24 trillion in 2017 to 32.08 by 2028.
- Eco-tourism is on the rise and 86% of the world travelers, especially millennials and generation Z, are looking for zero-impact holidays. There are travel agencies that curate tailor-made eco-friendly holidays for globetrotters who are sensitive towards the environment.
Some of the unusual travel niches, that you may not know about but consider, could be grand travel (traveling with your grandchildren), spa tourism, gastronomy or food tourism, nostalgia tourism, gambling tourism, agritourism and so on.
Goes without saying that an agency can select or curate any niche they wish to as long as there are a sizable number of audiences who have similar interest.
About the Author
Ratna is a communication and content marketing expert with seven years of experience in catering B2B and B2C markets. She has a penchant for cutting edge technologies, especially Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and has extensive experience in SaaS marketing. When she is off her desk, she is either traveling or exploring great places to eat. She truly believes in the power of reading and aspires to be a life coach by helping people build confidence through the power of communication.