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June 30, 2016 Williams Helde Staff

Active Explorers and Travel: UnScripted Adventure

shutterstock_354764354The results from Williams Helde’s latest Active Explorer User Group revealed that for Active Explorers, travel is a basic need right up there with food, water and shelter. We also discovered that travel is often inspired by books, music, movies and more.

But once consumers get the travel bug, what happens next? What’s going through their minds as they explore their options? What is their ultimate objective? And as marketers, how can we leverage their desires and push the right buttons through targeted communications?

The results from our user group point to a few key insights regarding purchase considerations for Active Explorers.

85% of Active Explorer respondents search for new experiences when they travel

User group respondents strongly agreed or agreed that when traveling, they prefer new activities they can’t do at home. Active Explorers are, by nature, always in pursuit of the “new,” whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime view or unique regional meal. In place of the sanitized bus tour or curated restaurant checklist, Active Explorers would rather go on a winding back-road trip to a country winery they saw in a film once, or learn how to make pasta from a legendary local chef.

Here’s how one respondent described the perfect travel experience:

“Taking art classes – learning from new artists. Trying new food – experiencing the difference. Visiting museums – understanding old cultures. Speaking with new people – learning about living in different places. Snorkeling, sightseeing, eating; because there’s always something new to discover.”

For Active Explorers, “new” doesn’t have to involve exercise

We asked our Active Explorer User Group what they like to do most, even when they’re not traveling. While more physical activities such as hiking, swimming, biking and going to the gym were high on the list, respondents most frequently responded that they enjoy trying new restaurants.

The findings also suggest that intellectually enriching activities such as theater, cooking classes and live music also rate very highly. More than anything, Active Explorers love to be immersed in everything they do, at home or in their travels, experiencing the world first-hand and never letting opportunities pass by.

The art of the new

We know that travel is the art of the new. Brands that help Active Explorers plan, activate and enjoy their travel, and all of the new experience it offers, are fast becoming industry tastemakers. Airbnb tapped into this trend with their recent Live like a Local campaign. It was a compelling appeal to Active Explorers, urging travelers to live in their destinations, rather than simply touring them. To experience a new city as if it were home, and in the process, discover the truly new, exciting facets of a place. Active Explorers, as many brands have noticed, are demanding anything but the typical from their travel.

So what does it all mean? Basically, that marketers have to train themselves to look into every single touchpoint of their brand, from customer service to mobile experiences to word-of-mouth, to identify moments of the new and unexpected. It could be as simple as a tongue-in-cheek mobile alert, or a surprise discount at the register as a spontaneous loyalty reward. But those moments will be far more impactful than a native advertisement or a video.

The Active Explorer User Group and your brand

We’d love the chance to put this group of loyal, engaged Active Explorer consumers to work for your brand. If you would like to learn more about how the user group findings can help your brand, email us SLF@williams-helde.com or call us at (206) 285-1940.