April 23, 2020: SELF GUIDED IS THE SOLUTION!
Today we received a bit of good news and confirmation, in an e-newsletter from our industry peers at the Travel & Adventure Show group. This indicated that self guided travel will be the most sought after type of travel when people return to travel in the post COVID-19 era. As we have specialized and focused on self guided bike tours and self guided hiking tours for over 25 years, that is great news for us! And it makes sense, of course. When you think about the exact opposite of self-guided travel, it is something like a cruise ship, which has come to symbolize virus and transmission of illnesses. While small group travel also shows to be appealing to some, we know that any type of travel will be some time in coming.
From a survey by the Travel & Adventure Show group:
- 1700 people who have attended these shows and are identified as “Travel Enthusiasts”; Over Half will Still Travel in 2020
- Over 56% stated they would not make changes to their current travel plans for 2020 (24.7%) or are re-booking for later in 2020 (31.5%).
- In reference to what types of travel options will they be looking for in the future, approximately 60% are planning on both self-managed international and domestic vacations.
The hard to read text is:
- Small Group International
- Small Group Domestic
- Self Managed Domestic
- Self Managed International
The gold/yellow (3rd) and turquoise/aqua (4th) colored bars are showing interest in self guided travel. As it is called here, ‘self managed’, we take it to mean the same as self guided travel. This is a huge jump in a way of traveling that was virtually unknown when we first started selling self guided bike tours in the late 90’s. If you are not familiar with self guided travel, have a look at that link which describes it in detail. But in brief, a self guided trip is kind what it sounds like – travel without a guide. You are the pseudo guide and you manage your day to day itinerary. This is about the only common denominator because after that, you can find all kinds of self guided offers, which vary greatly from one another.
Pure Adventures has been offering upscale and customizable self guided adventures as hallmark and with a unique market position for 20 years. We know better than anyone how this works. But important to note, there are many more stripped down versions out there, where few services are included, thus bringing down the price. In turn, this increases the amount of work that the traveler must manage. Regardless, more people will come to experience self guided in the new travel environment and this is good not just for us tour specialists but also, for many others.
New destinations where there are fewer crowds will be sought after, which will bring more awareness of many amazing travel-worthy destinations. Money will flow into these lesser known destinations and create new micro economic opportunities. Self guided travel puts travelers in direct contact with local people – typically a good thing in normal times, as travel is meant to create learning, understanding, and culture exchange. Self guided travel is less expensive, leaving room for possibly more trips or more spending in destination, or both. Self guided travel also levels the playing field for local services and outfitters, to supply travelers with experiences that they find on their own.
As all self guided adventures are not created equal or meant to be the same, it is important for a traveler to ask questions, compare what is included, and evaluate the service provider. Do you want to do it all yourself? If so, you can and just make arrangements directly with in destination services. If you want some help but wish to retain certain things for your own effort, there are companies who sell slimmer versions of a trip for more DIY travel. Lastly, there are all inclusive self guided trips, where you can leave all of the logistics of organization up to the tour company. Then, all you have to do is show up and enjoy your time as you like each day, just you and your traveling party, the people you know.
Self guided travel typically keeps you in your own private party – alone, as a couple, as a family, or as a small group of friends – always the people you know. This level of limited exposure is what is attracting people most to self guided, as they think about travel in the post COVID-19 era. We are ready and waiting, and we hope the be a leader in helping people return to travel when they are ready!
(Photo credit Mads Pihl & Visit Greenland)