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The Rise of Experiential Tourism in India

Saturday, July 2, 2022, 18:04 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

By Ishaan Bhutoria, Operations Director, 3102bce

Experiential tourism is the way forward, and many properties in Goa are putting their hearts and souls into designing properties that tourists and travellers can soak in and experience, thereby displaying the fact that Goa is much more than just the sea, sun & sand.

Despite the fact that Goa is presently experiencing its off-season, the level of interest in the Goan hospitality industry astounded me. Goa as a destination has grown in prominence because of the sheer variety of hospitality experiences which are there on offer. But the key factor in making any property stand out is that urban dwellers nowadays look out for an immersive, experiential experience. This is what I found when I entered the hospitality industry two years ago. 

Today’s travellers expect more than just five-star accommodations; they like being immersed in the natural beauty, cerebral connect and ethnic flavours even as they indulge in delectable cuisines they have not experienced much. They are mostly interested in expeditions and experiences, the lesser-known and unknown places and legends, and developing a deeper connection with local culture & nature. Cultural exploration and activity-based travel experiences are the focal points of experiential travel. 

Now more than ever, vacationers and travellers desire more than just to cross things off their bucket lists. They want to look for experiences that will enlighten them and engage more deeply with a region, a culture, or a civilisation. For many travellers today, authenticity has emerged as a guiding principle. In order to fully immerse themselves in an experience, tourists want to do more than just gaze out the window of a tour bus.

Alternative holiday accommodations are rapidly gaining popularity among Indian tourists seeking vacations that let them pursue their individual interests. In addition, less crowded tourism, wellness, and more experience and learning-based trips are among the new promotional drivers in the hospitality sector, allowing the business to focus on high-margin, low-impact travellers who seek wholesome experiences. And when you create such a value offering, even word-of-mouth and referrals work wonders for you. 60% of the visitors to any property learn about it organically if it provides a one-of-a-kind experience, which helps in reaching out to both the domestic as well as international travellers. This is the impact of an immersive hospitality experience.

According to a survey conducted by a well-known online travel company, more than 48% of respondents look for alternative lodging options for their trips, including resorts, homestays, and villas that provide an immersive experience. A themed resort, for instance, is ideal for couples wishing to spend quality time together while soaking in the tranquil ambience and true local culture. Travellers now have a wide range of accommodation alternatives to select from, including contemporary suites with breathtaking views, opulent villas with private pools, and themed resorts that exude modern aesthetics in the backdrop of ancient glory.

The contemporary Indian traveller is an adventurous explorer with an affinity for one-of-a-kind travel encounters. Experiential tourism is expected to continue gaining popularity in the travel market and will only become more prominent in the coming years. They are one of the hospitality industry’s fastest-growing areas, and on the other hand, the urge for standardised experiences is progressively declining. In light of this evolution, professionals in the hospitality sector are faced with selecting travel experiences that can provide their clients with fresh, genuine methods to gain a deeper understanding of the world through the places they are visiting.

People’s desire to discover unusual activities and places have also been greatly influenced by popular culture. Travellers now have a lot more options thanks to the growth of social media and the widespread use of the internet. Smartphones have helped in making the lives of tourists in a new place incredibly easy. Now, they have access to the entire world. Exploring unfamiliar territory, immersive experiences, and sorting through a plethora of choices to select the best are the reasons experiential travel has gained so much traction.

To conclude, experiential travel is progressively changing the way people engage themselves with a new place. What modern travellers expect from a vacation has undergone considerable changes. It seems that the new buzzword is ‘authenticity’. The expectations of hodophiles have changed tremendously over the years, but experiential tourism promises an immersive experience that is sure to excite the discerning traveller looking for a one-of-a-kind experience. The success of our effort only goes to show that experiential tourism is surely on the rise and is adding tremendous value to the sector.

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