For many consumers today, travel is more than just a change of scenery--it's a journey with a sense of purpose, whether it's eco-tourism, cultural immersion or adventure. Creating an experience for jet-setters can be your ticket to success in this $600 billion industry.
Baby boomers are the biggest market, with the highest volume of travel, says Cathy Keefe of the Travel Industry Association of America. They took a staggering 268.9 million trips in the U.S. in 2003, according to TIA's "2004 Domestic Travel Market Report."
They not only have the time and disposable income to travel, but their sense of youth and yen for exploration is also spurring opportunity in the adventure-travel niche. While this segment can include extreme adventures like rappelling or white-water rafting, boomers typically seek out "soft" adventures like safaris, bird-watching and sailing. Keefe also notes a rise in luxury adventure tours, where days might be spent roughing it, but nights are spent in cozy quarters.
Other sizzling markets include women (think culinary tours and spa getaways) and adults who want to learn a new skill, sport or hobby--30.2 million adults, in fact, took an educational trip in the past three years, according to the same TIA report.
Millennials (those born after 1982) hold tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs as well. Millennials are an adventurous bunch and will go online to research and book trips. To learn more about offering travel services to any generation, Keefe suggests attending adventure and travel expos and industry conferences.
Photo by ccgd.