By Kacey Bradley
How Hotels Can Capitalize On and Manage the Growth in Adventure Travel
Vacation used to consist of a week at the beach, a getaway in the mountains or a trip to a major city. But over recent years, travel trends have changed. Since 2009, adventure travel has increased by 65% annually, according to a new study. This means that globetrotters are trading the comfort of a traditional hotel to hole up in a stripped-down tiny house in the woods. They’re flocking to quirky Airbnbs across the globe. They’re choosing to go glamping in yurts near national parks.
So where does this adventure-travel trend leave hotels? Believe it or not, this could be good news for the industry. If you take elements of adventure travel and incorporate them into the way you operate your business, you may find that you begin to attract the young adventure traveler. They’re typically unmarried, in their mid-30s and willing to spend nearly $1,000 on an experience, which is good news for anyone in the travel business. So how do you attract this the growing group of customers? Keep reading.
Offer Unique Accommodations
First and foremost, adventure travelers are looking for a place to stay that’s cool enough to Instagram. Obviously, the traditional hotel model won’t allow you to build a bunch of yurts or park a herd of tiny homes out back. But there are ways that you can spice up your living spaces in order to draw in more adventurers. For instance, update the décor in your accommodations to include a mix of contemporary and classic elements.
For instance, create a space that emulates a rustic-chic log cabin. Getaways to cabins with modern amenities are really trending right now, so when you pair components like plush memory foam mattress toppers with classic faux fur throws, you might find that the mix brings in customers in droves.
Customize Off-Site Adventures
Your guests no longer expect simply a place to lay their head and get a hot shower. They’re craving something more from you. They want a personalized experience, from start to finish, and that includes the way they spend their time away from the hotel. So, think beyond the four walls of your accommodations and work with local companies to set up excursions that will provide your guests with ample photo ops.
Travelers to the island of Lanzarote, Spain can deep-dive to a museum. Those who trek to the Maldives have the chance to swim with massive, polka-dotted whale sharks. Anyone who plans a getaway to the Amazon can kayak through piranha-infested waters and actually fish for the notorious creatures. Does your location offer a similar opportunity for adventure? Then capitalize on it in order to attract thrill-seekers to your hotel.
Enlist Trending Technology
If a guest is choosing between your hotel and another, and the alternative offers online booking but you do not, they may go with your competitor for the sake of convenience. So make sure that you’re staying abreast of trending technology. Collaborate with travel sites to increase the online visibility of your business, and make sure to showcase its best features—particularly any amenities that visitors may not find at other hotels in the area.
Also, incorporate technology into the accommodations themselves. Consider equipping your rooms with charging ports for the most common smartphones and devices, like iPhones and Droids, or stocking them with voice-controlled remotes to make channel-surfing easier. Travel-savvy guests will really appreciate (and expect) trending technology, so make sure that your hotel delivers.
Showcase Local Charm
Maybe none of these tweaks will realistically work with your current business model. This doesn’t mean that you can’t capitalize on the adventure travel trend. Make note of the strengths of the community in which your hotel resides, whether it’s a thriving cultural scene or ample opportunities for hiking and kayaking. Then find a way to highlight these perks of staying at your hotel.
Offer food- or beer-tasting tours via local companies or an in-house concierge. Arrange regular yoga classes on your rooftop or at a nearby park. Get creative and use online platforms like Facebook and Instagram to market any of these extras to guests and potential guests. You might be surprised by how much buzz a few photos can generate for your business.
With the adventure travel market growing exponentially every year, it’s important that major players in the hospitality business take notice. Since there are so many ways to incorporate this type of travel into your current model, it shouldn't require a total overhaul in order to attract the growing demographic of adventure travelers. Embrace creativity in your business and feel free to step away from tradition as you do so. The result may be a growing and thriving operation that’s able to keep up with the likes of Airbnb.