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On Site at MLTU: Finding Your NicheSeptember 15, 2014 By: Meagan Drillinger
Niche travel is an excellent way to boost your profits, because consumers want to buy from a professional who is passionate and knowledgeable about a certain area. Travel Agent is on location at MLTUniversity where we have learned some key tips into finding a niche and boosting your sales.
MLT Vacations’ agent portal, World Agent Direct, outlines a series of specialty vacations, including luxury, romance, Disney, groups, ski, escorted tours, diving and LGBT. But the tour operator has also highlighted a series of growing trends in the niche industry. The growing niches include multi-generational travel, soft adventure, wellness, culinary travel and TV and movie-inspired travel.
As a travel agent finding your niche depends on your own interests, because selling what you love is a natural skill.
Multi generational travel includes several generations traveling together. This has been a huge market for some time and shows so sign of slowing down. Market this to a trip of parties belonging to three or more generations. It can be marketed around making memories, convenience and value. Hotels that cater to multi-gen travel include Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma; Key West Luxury Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos; and The Dana on Mission Bay, San Diego.
Soft adventure travel has accelerated 65 percent annually since 2009. This type of adventure travel requires little or no experience and includes nature, culture and physical activity. Tourists are typically in the 40s, affluent and educated. It is expected that the market will be led by 40-60-year olds by 2014. Top hotels in Delta Vacations’ portfolio that cater to soft adventure include Marival Residence Nuevo Vallarta in Riviera Nayarit. This hotel has eco tours, waterfall rappelling, zip lining, sea safaris, horseback riding and kayaking. The Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort in Costa Rica has access to zip lining, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and hiking cloud forests through a series of hanging bridges.
A huge trend as of late is wellness travel as travelers realize that overall wellness is the key to good health and longevity. Pitch wellness travel to aging baby boomers. The wellness sector will grow 9.1 percent annually through 2014. Top resorts that promote wellness travel are the Zoetry Agua Punta Cana, The Springs Resort & Spa in Costa Rica and the Park Hyatt Dubai.
Foodies are nuts over gastro tourism, which is travel based on cuisine choices. Top hotels that cater to foodies are the Omni Royal Orleans in New Orleans, The St. Regis Florence and the Hotel Montaigne in Paris.
TV/Movie-inspired travel continues to be a hot trend. Tourism boards are finding that this is a top way to market destinations, and the Travel Channel rated this niche the best overall trend in 2014. Top destinations continue to be New Zealand, thanks to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit. Other top destinations are Northern Ireland thanks to Game of Thrones, and Oahu because of the Hunger Games.
Other types of niche trends include:
PANKs (Professional Aunt, NO Kids). These travelers are women who love children but who don’t have their own. This sector spends $9 billion on their nieces, nephews and godchildren.
Millennials are another niche to market to. These 18-30 year olds are savvy travel consumers who want to spend money, crave authenticity, local experiences and international travel.