Agents trying to break into the growing adventure market should take note, says Dan Jackson of Exodus
A relatively new style of holidaying for some, for those in the know it is the only way to travel, and agents who overlook this booming market through lack of awareness and knowledge are missing out on potential sales.
Self-guided walking and cycling holidays are a perfect way to bridge that gap for clients dipping their toes into adventure travel for the first time.
For some clients, the prospect of donning a garish lycra outfit and pedalling furiously for 60km in searing humidity to try and keep up with a group of fitter and more experienced cyclists is enough to get them reaching for the all-inclusive beach holiday brochure.
The same apprehension could apply for those considering joining a group trekking trip.
I think it’s fair to say Self-guided activity holidays are a new trend in the industry. At Exodus and Headwater, we have seen a 20% increase in self-guided walking and cycling holidays over the last year with many of these clients being brand new to this more active type of holidaying.
Because you’re not joining a group, a self-guided adventure is not restricted by scheduled departure dates, clients can pick their own start date. Despite there being no tour leader, this doesn’t mean clients are left to their own devices. Detailed route notes and/or GPS technology are provided to make sure clients can navigate easily each day and relax and enjoy their holiday.
Clients luggage is transported by our local partners meaning if they want to bring the kitchen sink they can do (not recommended) but means they only need to cycle or walk with a light daypack safe in the knowledge their main bags will be waiting for them on arrival later that day in their next hotel.
Many of our self-guided walking and cycling itineraries weave their way through vineyards and medieval towns, cruise alongside rivers and are rustic and rural, specially designed to take clients off the beaten track and to experience a slower pace of life.
For lovers of the great outdoors, this style of travel is the perfect way to get active, avoid the crowds and do so at your own pace whilst accessing places on foot or by bike that wouldn’t be possible in a bus or car – absolute freedom and flexibility which you just don’t get when travelling with a group on a fixed itinerary.
Arguably one of the key selling points that all good agents should have up their sleeve when proposing this style of holiday to a new client is the emphasis on eating regional cuisine, drinking local wine (often having cycled or walked through the vineyard earlier in the day) and staying in high quality family run accommodation oozing charm and character.
These itineraries are not designed for the rugged, hard-core adventurer.
They are a perfect blend of activity and relaxed sightseeing whilst enjoying the scenery with a loved one or close friend (or small group of friends) safe in the knowledge that the culinary opportunities and style of accommodation are equally as important as the activity, and I for one will drink, and eat, to that.
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