Who We Are Not
Basically, your all-inclusiver, content to spend a week beachside, margarita in hand. (Though we’re not averse to beaches and margaritas, themselves. )
Who We Are
We want to live something real, something of substance, something of content. We want to feel wealthy in meaningful experiences that somehow change our lives or the lives of others.
We want to know more, do more, and get everything we can out of a place. We’ll put in the effort, because we believe the return will come back three fold, and we’ll be better for it.
We want to take in a different perspective, another part of the world. To make new friends over strange foods and understand the feeling of a place, not just know what a magazine picture portrays.
We want to live an adventure, one we’ve created in our minds. No matter if it’s a week or three years, we want to leave home motivated and return with that story, changed forever.
We want to feel something.
We want to break out of the 9-to-5 rut and remember the feeling of being a kid, riding our bike down a huge hill for the first time. To climb into a life that feels like the one we know we’re supposed to be living.
We want to be jarred. Pushed out of our comfort zone, into situations varying in degrees of risk, and find new versions of ourselves. We want to feel excited, alive, enthralled, enraptured, and moved. Motivated.
We want to understand,
to connect, to inspire,
and to be inspired.
Numbers that Matter
Now that we’ve talked from the heart, let’s look at some cold, hard facts. In 2013, George Washington University partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association to produce the Adventure Tourism Market Study. Here’s what researchers found:
- 53% of all adventure tourists were women and 47% were men with an average age of 36
- 11% had a professional qualification
- 37% adventure tourists spent 4 years or more in tertiary education
- 42% of all tourists participate in 1 or a range of adventure activities during a vacation, which averages 10 days
- 69% come from Europe, North America, and South America, with 42% reporting an adventure activity as the main activity of their trip
- 21% travel with friends, 37% travel with a spouse and 30% travel with their families, including children
- 73% intend to include an adventure activity in their next trip, but only 22% will repeat one of a previous trip
- 45% plan on hiring a tour operator on their next trip.
Important Traits of Your Audience
ATs are interested in three main areas: nature, activity, and culture. When they travel, they normally engage in at least two of these.
The report Attracting and Serving the U.S. Adventure Traveler, pulled together by the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Outside Magazine, does a really nice job breaking the AT personas into three categories:
Grazer – Basically, crossing off a list of things they’ve always wanted to do without out the expectation of doing them again. This could be a one-time bungee jump, swimming with sharks, or Zorbing.
Adventurer – These guys are working on improvement in a specific area and will usually perform the activity during their trip.
Adventurer Enthusiast – Dedicated and focusing on their sport at a high level, these guys often plan trips around their passion.
Different Breed. Different Need.
You’re Not Selling a Location.
You’re Helping to Write a Story.
This simple shift in mindset is a huge.
“It’s not just any place or situation,” says my friend, Brooklyn. “It’s one I can fall in love with. A place I can visualize myself in, from the way the air smells to what a hike feels like.” That means you need to get specific. Give her the smallest of details you don’t think anyone cares about. Because she does.
Figure out who Brooklyn is
and how you can make her life easier,
or more exciting, or both.
The more helpful you can be, and the more you make her trip, the story in her mind, come alive, the more you’ll stay in her thoughts.
Here would be her dream come true:
“I’d love to see a mountain biking vendor who, in addition to the standards you’d expect, also includes information about the land’s history; personal stories from staff, customers, and experts about their experiences in the area—not just testimonials, but actual stories; and tips and things to know about the local culture. Maybe they’d even hold some kind of dinner that gives insight into another aspect of the people,” she says.
“And though I often build my trips around a bike or a board, I’m interested in other things. So, then, this awesome vendor, knowing I might want to experience more than life on a bike, gives a heads up on sailing outfitters or other cool things to do. Oh, and their presentation? Stylish and easily navigable.”
Brooklyn says that if she found this place, she’d go with them every time, even if they’re more expensive. Why? Because they get her. Brooklyn knows they understand she’s not just someone who wants to toodle around town on two wheels. Because Brooklyn knows maybe they’ll point her in another direction, they’ll be a helpful resource that connects her to other resources on her trip, who can offer additional experiences she hadn’t even considered.
If you’re making the effort to get her, anticipate her needs, wants, and desires, she’s going to give you her attention. And her money.
And before getting started, it’s important to reiterate: Some of this information may seem obvious. But the point is to dive deep. Deeper than you think you have to or should. Because there is a lot of content out there, but a lot of it sits on the surface. Or is scattered all over the place, in little bits and pieces, making planning an excursion more hassle-filled and time-consuming than is ideal.