When you want to book your vacation and you don’t have a destination in mind yet, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Do you want something unknown and new, something that hasn’t been discovered yet (or hasn’t been discovered by that many people, at least) or do you want to see and experience the marvels of this world, the amazing sights that can be found, nonetheless, in millions of Instagram and Facebook profiles?
The answer isn’t easy, but it is safe, as there are no bad choices to be made here. And yet, this answer drives the policies and choices of so many companies in the tourism sector, companies that are trying to maximize their impact in the industry and find their niche. So, where should they focus? Again, there are no wrong answers, but it is always important to know exactly what they’re offering.
Famous destinations, like Rome, Paris, New York, Cairo and Alexandria, Athens, and the Greek islands, Tokyo, Rio, and so many more are not just something to scratch off your bucket list. These are amazing places on their own and, in the end, it makes total sense that they are such popular tourist destinations. People who love traveling will want to go there at some point in their lives to witness the awe of history, the marvel of human ingenuity, or even the harmony of nature and civilization.
Unknown or exotic destinations are a different story altogether; they offer a sense of adventure and discovery. Sometimes it’s not just about how nature and civilization combine, it’s about seeing nature unspoiled by humans. Other times, it’s about getting to know the locals, who rarely, if ever, see travelers. It’s about tasting food that isn’t a mix of local and international cuisine, that doesn’t cater to the traveler, that, after all, you might not like. They make you feel as if you’re going to places few people have ever visited; you have to forget some of the conveniences the known destinations offer, and what you get in exchange is a unique experience that you will always remember vividly.
These seem like simple distinctions, but for those in the tourism sector, they are also important distinctions. It is imperative to know our customers, to be able to offer to them not only what they are looking for, but also what we know that they are going to like. And that’s where the game is being played right now: in trying to anticipate, or even create, the wants and desires of travelers. In order to offer the best possible experience, you first need to know what type of traveler your services are designed for.