Last month’s OTM Forum 2019 highlighted the rise of experiential travel with a panel which was moderated by Nisha B., Founder – Elevated Consultancy Singapore. The co-panellists included Vijay Nair, Country Head – National Geographic Expeditions Aditya Bhat, Head – Jio Studios and Vikram Ahuja, Founder – Byond Travel.
Jio Studios has been doing active work within the travel industry among other sectors. Their dedicated travel team caters to 360 VR solutions in 25 countries working with mainstream travel companies like Cox & Kings, Thomas Cook as well as Incredible India as clients.
Nisha initiated the discussion with by emphasizing that Travel, in essence, is experiential, authentic experiences cannot be created. The people who are using the buzzword are faking it, using it as marketing product. Vikram also acknowledged that experiential travel is the most overused term in the travel industry these days, It is commonly juggled with transformational and immersive travel. At the heart of Byond Travel’s strategy has been the idea of building communities of travel, shared interests working with locals.
For Vijay Nair, 3 fundamental drivers according to driving experiential travel are:
– Evolving consumer – People looking at travel as the next social currency. NatGeo categorizes customer base from traveller to tourist to explorer and works with a team of experts in exploring, naturalists etc.
– Developing ecosystem – MOT had declared 2018 as the year of Adventure Tourism. Schools are now looking at experiential educational trips, looking at NASA etc.
– Technology advancements – AR/VR, small boutique agencies building to cater to these experiences.
People are looking at consuming products of brands which stand for purpose example single use of plastic, responsible tourism etc.
Watch the full panel discussion below: