A new study coming out of Europe revealed a shift in consumer consciousness that is changing travel! People want their travel to be meaningful, feel good and have some impact in the world — not just for escapism or indulgences. So it’s no surprise that travel philanthropy and voluntourism are booming.
The study conducted by global communications agency, Euro RSCG Worldwide, focused on a particular segment of respondents called Prosumers. This group is “highly influential and ahead of the curve in adopting a more mindful approach to consumption that incorporates concern for the environment, local communities, and the global citizenry.”
Travelers and travel providers will find a trove of insights from this study. The growing value shift in our society coupled with the proliferation of social media are transforming and revolutionizing travel.
According to the study:
- 66% consider themselves “Citizens of the World,” suggesting a more globally minded attitude and approach.
- 73% believe extensive travel is key to making a person more interesting.
- And 59% contend that where and how they travel says a lot about who they are.
The study has found that people are fed up with “excessive consumption” and our “disconnected way of living.” People are “hunger for greater meaning in their lives” as evidenced by these results:
- 79% of Prosumers worry that society has become too shallow, focusing on things that don’t really matter.
- 66% worry that people have become too disconnected from the natural world, while 53% worry that digital communications are weakening human bonds.
- Alarmed by current realities, 84% are making a real effort to improve who they are and how they live.
So, how do travel providers stay ahead in this space? Companies need to fulfill these four imperatives:
- Accept and embrace “green” as the standard way of doing business
- Offer products and services that satisfy Prosumers’ desire to live more mindfully
- Master social media in order to engage Prosumers before, during, and after each travel experience
- Embrace the new models of luxury and customer service (examples identified in the study included eco-accommodations built with reclaimed and recycled materials, “100 mile” menus centered on locally produced foods, energy-efficient “EcoRooms,” and rewarding travelers for their green behaviors.)
More people are seeing life and travel as integrated and they both matter. This is the new travel consumer.
photo credit: bfick