Over the last few years, travel scenario across the world has undergone a dramatic shift. With the advent of travel blogs, websites and social media, individual tourism is on a rise like never before. People are organizing their own itineraries and activities without any kind of assistance from a third party specially travel agents.
1 Rise of Millennial generation. Individual tourists or better known as ‘free independent traveler – FIT’ identify themselves with a more aware young millennial generation who have the desire to see the world and they travel either in small groups or as couples. There are three characteristics that define the individual tourists – young, confident and independent. There is a strong sense of ‘self’ so they know what kind of experiences are they seeking from their travel plans.
2 Do-it-yourself. Individual tourism thrives on self-service mindset. These travelers do everything on their own – right from searching for lucrative deals online, booking flights and accommodation to finding local restaurants where they can eat to save a few dollars. They are fiercely independent and resourceful. They know where to ‘click’ to get the right information about a place and activities. Very well connected through the internet they have friends all over the world and reach out to them to get first-hand information.
3 Digitized generation. It’s a digital era marked with a craze for using mobile apps. There is a marked increase in the number of internet users as well as those with mobile devices. People use travel websites and mobile apps to book their travel arrangements, compare prices to get the lowest fares and seek travel information and tips. Instead of going to travel guides for advice, individual tourism is paving way for booking aggregator or airline website to directly compare airline ticket prices and get the best prices.
4 Social media has a big influence. Social media is a big influencer in how individual tourists take decisions about their travel destinations. Most people are on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. When someone upload the photos, videos and memories, it goes viral and influence the others behavior. They keep a tab on the companies that launch competitions to win free trips, flight tickets or travel program etc.
5 Mobile Booking. The growing confidence in mobile is enabling consumers to book tickets and to make reservations via smartphone. They like the real-time price information, the ease of booking, highlighting their preferences, customized experiences and seeing what is popular.
6 Real Experiences and not sightseeing. Individual tourism is more about the travel experiences and less as visiting a place as a tourist. People no longer want to just see the major tourist attractions at their travel destination but experience the local cuisines, art, culture and architecture. There is a shift in mindset from “I want to see the places” to “I want to soak in the local experiences”.