As a provider of travel and adventure products and/or services, you know how important it is to understand who your best customers are and what they want to buy. Not just your potential customers’ age, income, family status but to look deeper to understand what their social values and views of the world are. Marketing research is a long and often expensive process and we are certain you would rather skip this step altogether, but can you afford to? Not knowing who your ideal customer is could cost you a lot in wasted marketing campaigns and efforts that don’t pay off. If you are truly passionate about your business and want every marketing dollar to come back to you as a sales dollar, you simply can’t leave it to chance.
Luckily, back in 2012 the Canadian Tourism Commission in collaboration with Environics Research Group issued a free award-winning guide profiling different types of travellers; including their age, income, social values, and travel interests to enrich travel-related companies’ customer targeting and maximize their marketing efforts. This guide is called Explorer Quotidien and it features extensive marketing research that will help you gain deeper customer knowledge and ensure you can develop effective marketing campaigns.
The Explorer Quotidien guide breaks down each demographic type into groups called Explorer Types: Free Spirits, Cultural Explorers and Authentic Expierencer. In this article we will be looking at the Authentic Experiencer type and how to market to this category of travellers, but you can learn more about each type and their place across the global and country-specific target markets (such as Australia, Canada, the UK, Germany, China etc.) in this handy document.
Authentic Experiencer Profile
Authentic Experiencer is a typically understated traveller and represents only 9% of the global market. This type of explorers seeks authentic engagement with the destination they visit. Let’s look at this type in more detail to better understand their preferences and social values.
Authentic Experiencer shows particular interest in learning about the history of the places they seek. They prefer to do their own thing while at a destination, maintaining control over what, when and how they do it. This type will not need to have everything taken care of for them and would rather experience living like the locals do.
Travel for an Authentic Experiencer is an opportunity to learn and work on their personal development rather than to escape from life. They are more selective in the experiences they find appealing to do on a long-haul trip than other types. You will most likely find Authentic Experiencers at exhibits, museums, historic buildings, hands-on learning activities, nature observations. Some of their top defining values are personal control, scepticism towards advertising and ecological concern.
Authentic Experiencer will constantly graze for information before and during their trip mostly seeking local insiders tips and recommendations. They begin building an overall picture of the place led by bigger, traditional tourist activities but will need assurance there will be smaller experiences nearby that will allow to learn and uncover more.
Looking at the Explorer Quotidien’s demographics for this travel type, it’s typically a mature individual/couple without children, more likely to be retired. This information is very useful when planning your marketing efforts towards this group.
In short, Authentic Experiencers are the more mature and experienced explorers who immerse themselves in the places they travel to. Whilst carefully planning their itinerary, they make sure to leave time for unplanned activities to truly get to know a destination. Travel is not their only interest in life but they certainly appreciate it. Authentic Experiencers would rather do their own thing, having control over their itinerary.
Marketing to Authentic Experiencer
Every travel profile is divided into two groups depending on the travellers’ planning habits: Planners and Travellers. Travellers go with the flow and Planners, well, they plan. When focusing your efforts on marketing, Planners is the group that will represent a higher value audience for your business. They influence the itinerary of their entire travel group and are most likely the decision makers. Planning is one of the biggest traits of the Authentic Experiencer so focusing your marketing efforts on providing support to this traveller group prior to their trip should be your priority as a travel and adventure business.
You can reach Planners before they even get to you physically by providing them with inspiration and information to share with their travel group. Travel guides and maps play a huge role in how an Authentic Experiencer will plan their trip. In contrast, they will rely less on social media for influence and inspiration. They want to connect with the real world authentically and not through media outlets.
An Authentic Experiencer wants to learn so be prepared to provide them with educational materials of the highest informational value. With the level of education and maturity of this type of travellers, all materials provided to them must have the kind of communication approach that suggests broad knowledge of subjects and an extensive background context.
Authentic Experiencers will take on every opportunity to learn hands-on. Learning by physically undertaking an activity will be of great interest to them. If this activity will allow them to experience it alongside locals, it’s a huge advantage. Whilst Authentic Experiencers enjoy planning, you can win them over by offering an extra added surprise or a smaller activity within your service. Announcing these little add-ons on your website or in your brochure will play a big role in determining whether to visit a destination or try an activity.
Authentic Experiencers are not interested in big brands but they are willing to pay if the quality matches their values. They would rather spend a day with locals or exploring historic sites than being pampered or having everything taken care of for them.
As you can see, the Explorer Quotidien guide is extremely helpful when determining your perfect customer and knowing their travelling habits. According to this strategy that has been carefully put together by Travel Alberta, if your ideal customer is an Authentic Experiencer it might be useful to direct your marketing efforts at the following markets: Canada, the US, the UK, Germany and Japan.
Now that you know how to market to an Authentic Experiencer, take a look at our guide to Marketing in Mountain Towns that will be helpful if your business is located in the Canadian Rockies. Just like ours!