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A Hierarchy of Travel Needs - Page 4 of 6 - Jim Menge, Traveling Man

Level 3: The personal need to travel

Level 3 PersonalWeddings. Funerals. Celebrations. Tragedies. Births. Graduations. Reunions. Romance. When the people you love have a need, you pick up and go. Although this type of traveler commonly falls into the “leisure” category, we can all agree for the most part it’s a misnomer. It all has the appearance of voluntary participation, but the reality is murky. Do you need to attend the yearly family reunion? Is that wedding a must-go event? Whereas, if you haven’t seen your significant other in two months… waiting isn’t an option either.

People will go to great lengths for the events that matter on a personal level. They may be willing to sacrifice personal comfort to save money, or they feel entitled to a higher degree of comfort because they’re calling the shots. This traveler is the deci-sionmaker, although they are likely to be feeling varying degrees of urgency and financial pressure since the motivation isn’t recreational.

Since most personal travel is subjective, the booking process tends to be individualistic. Travel advisors offer consultation for more complex arrangements, and my experience is that most travelers who do it themselves come away with a far lesser experience for much the same cost. While personal travel is not reminiscent of a suit and tie on an airplane, an experienced agent can help avoid much of the hassle of travel.

While speaking to travel and tourism professionals, I often ask the audience what they do and answers range between what and how. I often ask them to think of how they answer the question on behalf of the clients they wish to serve. Personal travel is more than sending someone to a reunion; it is about memories. Personal travel is more than visiting relatives for the holidays; it involves therapy. Seriously, top travel producers told me they ensured their higher producing clients were well taken care of when they traveled during the holidays.

Personal travel also involves self-development or sales-oriented meetings, two huge markets for closed-user-group travel and tourism (but that’s a topic for another day). Destination management companies know the large event markets very well. At one recent company I led, we supplied nearly 6,000 personal group curated experiences in 90 countries. The logistics are precise, as travelers on each of these groups arrived from multiple countries. We were able to shift market share quickly from one destination to another depending on buying power, customer demand, and seasonality to prevent over-tourism.

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