By Rajiv Chauhan (Travel Expert)
As a travel consultant, I interact with people from all walks of life on daily basis and I am amazed to learn about their travel wish list and preferences while we discuss their next vacation. With increasing number of Internet users and social media in our country we have now a generation of travellers that is very clear in thought on how they want to spend their leisure time while they plan their next holiday destination. They know what they are travelling for… be it the scenic beauty of the place, history, culture, food or simply fun.
A decade back people used to go for a holiday through a recommendation given by a friend or family member who had recently visited a destination and as a tour operator we simply got their hotel and sight-seeing or meals booked. On completion of the tour we used to take a feedback on the services and there were different ratings given by different travellers going on the same tour plan.
I would wonder and think why did this happen? Why was there such a variance in the responses? How do people quantify a holiday in terms of experience?
The answer could be that we have different taste buds…. people doing MICE would relate to what I am talking about. While operating any MICE group we go through the group profile in terms of how many adults, males, females, children are there along with the geographic location they come from. Based on this data the buffet items are finalised. Like ‘Roti’ is essential for a North Indian Menu and in the same way ‘Curd Rice’ is must in a South Indian Menu and Fish for Eastern India and ‘Teekhi & Meethi Daal’ for Western India. For Children there have to be some exciting food options and to top it up some local flavours of the destination.
The point is we all have different taste buds and they are not only for the what we like to eat but also for what we like to see and experience on a holiday.
So why not design tour plans as per the interests and liking of the travellers. I would like to quote another example: Perception Vs Reality- There is a general perception about Thailand but at the same time there are lot of options in terms of activities and sight-seeing for family groups with children. I am sure the people who have explored Thailand as a destination would agree on this.
So its not only suggesting newer destinations to the travellers but also presenting the same destination with a different flavour. The taste that suits their taste buds. If we succeed in doing this then only we can use the terms like holiday planners and travel counsellors or else we lose our identity to the generic word of a travel agent. Choice is ours…..