Learnings Take Two

Heading back to the US finally, for those of you who haven’t yet been to Norway I can highly recommend it (but maybe go in the summer so you don’t freeze)!

Being here made me wonder why we don’t actively look for volunteer travel destinations in developed countries – I talked with many a farmer, fisherman, school that would love to have volunteers. These people may not be below the poverty line but they are definitely struggling and sending volunteers to a developed country first might make better volunteers when we send them to developing countries afterwards, just a thought…

More learnings from ATWS:

– The airline industry is expected to lose $5.2B this year (ouch): IATA

– Travelers are booking much closer to departure dates, operators are reporting less lead time – advanced bookings are down 5-25% from this time last year

– For the first time online behavior shows that travelers are truly placing a heavy weight on authentic content like blogs, reviews, etc in their purchasing decision

With people worrying about the economy now more than ever how is it effecting travel plans? Adventure Travel customer behaviors/categories:

1. The Passionate Traveler – 1 out of every 10 travelers

The passionate traveler is willing to cut back on other things in order to be able to travel more

2. The Intrepid Traveler – 2 out of every 10 travelers

This segment has doubled in size since 1999 and is very risk tolerant, will not be put off by changing economic conditions

3. The Opportunists – 2.5 out of every 10 travelers

Tend to be male, young and well educated and are more inclined to travel now because of discounts, less crowds, etc.

So basically, there’s hope – let’s not start blaming the economy yet, research shows that volunteer travel is doing well and based on our informal poll of voluntourism providers (the ones that bravely answered) so far we show that 75% of operators are up this year versus last.


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