Why Tour operators and travel agents need to focus on authentic local experiences

These are the main elements of the generic destination competitiveness model. They help to identify key success factors in destination marketing. Local experiences are one of the most important indicators that determine destination competitiveness. It is possible to use both conceptual and empirical research to determine the relative strengths and weaknesses in different destinations. This can be used to study the effect of local experiences on travelers, and vice versa.

Today’s discerning traveler loves to discover the unique experiences offered by each destination. They go beyond just staying at the best hotels. It is now easy to find the best restaurants and spas. The locals can show you the best places to eat and stay, while no online portal can. To match the millennials’ concept of travel, it is important to spend time with locals. This goes beyond the packaged holidays and cookie-cutter options.

Travel redefined:

Travel agents need to understand that selling travel is selling happiness. Travel becomes more meaningful when it is infused with the values of local people. The new buzzwords for international travel tourism growth are authenticity, simplicity, culture. Indulging in local experiences is the key to the evolution of a whole new genre of travel. The best luxury experience is not the most important thing, but the local feel will add charm to your holiday memories. Experience is the most valuable luxury.

Today’s culture tourists are able to transcend the routine and enjoy the moment. Tourists who like to challenge the norm are more open to interaction with local residents. However, this paradigm shift hasn’t caught up to everyone. The traditional tourism-related components remain the main focus of investment.

The hospitality industry is slowly establishing themselves as the gateways to the local community in order to create a multi-layered travel experience. While this might not be an advantage, it will give you a competitive edge.

It is important to plan carefully when blending national heritage and culture into luxury travel tours. This will enhance the tourist’s experience. The government’s tourism policies, which include inter-cultural education policy, help to make the beginning of a travel agent more impressive.

The new clause from the tourism authorities is to counter homogenization of the travel experience. Travelers with similar outlooks will see a lasting benefit from embracing local cultural tourism. Travel providers have moved away from traditional vertical distribution channels to create complex value chains. This is why providers must seize every opportunity to gain competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive market. Collaboration through government and local partnerships is a new standard. Tourism value chain has become a key component of local culture and society. As a value network, the inter-relationships among travel and other socio-economic sector are now considered.

Promoting local cuisine

Since the last few years, sustainable tourism has been a key concern in the tourism industry. The traditional gourmet industry is a major part of experiencing the local culture. The cultural experience is complete when you try traditional foods. If you eat at McDonald’s instead of helping the local community, it will have a significant impact on the local socio-economic circles. International travelers are mainly made up of Western tourists. It is clear that the demand for Western food is higher than local cuisine.

People might not think it is important to get to know the local culture while traveling for just one night. The local food industry makes a significant contribution to the overall improvement of local tourism. While a McDonald’s or KFC may fill your stomach, it will not improve your experience nor the local tourism industry. Vietnamese pho is a popular choice for tourists in Vietnam. If you are in Costa Rica, make sure to try gallo pinto. You don’t always get a token in return for building relationships with local people. But, you can help build a perception of your country as a whole by helping to build connections. The country’s history is deeply rooted in the memories of its people. As the old folk say, the only way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Experiential travel – creating a deeper connect

Global tourism is witnessing the largest and most consistent trend of ‘experiential travel’. This term usually refers to authentic, local, immersive, and more active travel trends. Some travel enthusiasts argue that travel is intrinsically ‘experiential’ and that it is too common. However, it is important to make the concept more mainstream. Local tourism has seen a wide range of attitudes from travel consumers. It is how they approach the trend that has influenced their behavior.

People want to travel more at the end. The increasing number of people who are hesitant to buy a traditional travel brochure is a sign that local experiences matter to the new generation of travelers.

Going social

Travel brands offer more connected experiences by relying on technology and the global networks of individual and small travel providers. The almost infinite number of social media networks keeps us connected, no matter where we travel. Ironically, these social media networks are slowly isolating people from real life and not helping them to make human connections. Online sharing portals connect travelers to local citizens and allow them to experience the joy of traveling like a local.

Packaged tourism is losing its popularity among modern-day travelers, which raises the question: What exactly is authentic travel? While consumer data may reveal some of the answers, tracking social media will provide an organic result. It is important for travel brands to adapt to changing travel behaviors in order to target niches.

Tech tools

The smartphone is undoubtedly the most trusted and influential tech tool for millennials. The mobile phone location technology has allowed for a seamless connection. On niche apps, review-stuffed maps by Google etc. This has made it easier to plan for set-piece events than ever before. Peer-to-peer accommodation, BlaBlaCar and other transportation services such as Airbnb and BlaBlaCar allow for authenticity and a greater number of reviews. Only the locals can reveal the underbelly of a location, which makes the experience authentic.

Large companies have also decided to get down to the local level. It’s fun to see the Instagrammable images and ideas of less-explored destinations. The new generation of travelers is embracing the concept of commissioned local advice and themed guides. This is a way for tourists to have a true local experience. It is a good idea for travel companies to remember the old saying “Think global, do local!”  

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