Travel Insights: Finding Purpose in Travel

April 1, 2021  |  Victoria Simmons

Travel & Tourism

Coming out of times of adversity many people are seeking goodness and craving a deeper sense of meaning in their lives and through their actions. Travel has long been an outlet for “finding yourself” but today’s travelers are expanding their desire for purposeful travel to include positive impacts on themselves, communities, and the globe.  

Sustainable Travel

After a taste of the positive environmental impacts that came from the pause of travel, travelers are adamant about finding ways for their passions of travel and environmental values to coexist.  

Implications

Destination marketers and travel brands should be ready to enact strategies to promote off season travel to balance visitor volume and create sustainable tourism economies 

Voluntourism

The pandemic has increased a desire for consumers to give back, and many are looking for ways to make their travels more rewarding for the communities they visit as well as themselves.  

59% of respondents are interested in ‘philantourism’ the act of choosing a vacation or experience in order to support a destination through tourism - American Express Global Travel Trends Report  

Implications

Don’t discount the impact smaller, hyper-local initiatives can have on helping travelers feel good about giving back. Find ways to organize itineraries or trip ideas around opportunities for philanthropy such as a financial contribution to a local cause or a day of volunteering.  

Localism 

A global pandemic has turned consumers’ hearts towards local communities. Whether being a tourist in one’s own region or visiting somewhere new, travelers have a reinvigorated desire to connect with the local offerings and support local businesses.  

62% of respondents agree that travel companies should ensure that their vacations help the local people and economy -ABTA Travel Trends 

Implications

Make it easy for travelers to identify and connect with locally owned businesses, products and experiences both while in market and once they’ve returned home.  

Diversity / Inclusion

The past year has greatly accelerated an existing demand of diversity and inclusion efforts throughout society. Now is the time for destinations and organizations to step up to meet these values through their travel offerings. 

63% of Americans agree that travel creates greater cultural understanding – Expedia 2021 Travel Trends Report 

Implications:  Given travel’s unique ability to connect people, places and cultures – travel brands have an opportunity to set the standard when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Brands that demonstrate actions toward inclusion stand to steal market share from those that do not.   

Self-Betterment

Trying times have heightened the desire for consumers to look in the mirror and improve themselves. Reprioritization of relationships, focus on health, and valuing meaningful experiences are all noble pursuits that many travelers will seek to gain through trips.   

Americans are looking to continue improving themselves, with trips with loved ones and active vacations as means to do so: (43%) plan to stay more connected to friends and family after the pandemic, (42%) plan to stay more physically active. - Harris Poll  

Implications: Encourage travelers to try something new whether it’s making a personal pilgrimage, experiencing “dark skies”, meeting new people or learning a new language – give travelers reasons to push themselves out of traditional comfort zones.  

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is Senior VP, Travel at BVK

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