As a popular vacation destination for many visitors each year, the Bradenton area is greatly impacted by tourism on a year-round basis.
It is imperative that we, as your marketing destination office, remain on top of travel trends affecting our industry to ensure we effectively communicate all that the Bradenton area has to offer to visitors who will leave the most positive impact on our community.
On an ongoing basis – together with industry leading researchers and our destination marketing partners – we sit down to examine the state of the tourism industry to stay ahead of the curve and to ensure we are doing the best job that we can.
Since tourism will continue to impact us, I wanted to share some of the top-line information discussed.
According to global travel industry intelligence provider Skift, travelers are looking for experiences. This overwhelmingly beat out material things as the No. 1 thing people in the United States would rather spend disposable income on.
Experts at U.S. News and World Report agree, emphasizing the emergence of the desire to return enlightened and transformed after a trip. The reports conclude that the majority of travelers want to come back having experienced something new, while roughly a third want to come back rested and recharged, something we should all consider as we continue to grow as a destination.
As millennials continue to represent the largest generation in the United States, ongoing examination of the group remains a top priority. Allianz Global Assistance USA reports that millennials make the least amount of money out of all age groups, get the least amount of vacation, take the least vacation time and spend the least on the vacation.
As this generation continues to evolve, the travel industry must seek to find ways to connect with them while also embracing their preferences, which according to USTravel.org includes automated customer service and a sharing economy.
Additional insights suggest a growing emphasis on the “local experience,” including local cuisine, private accommodations, private tours/local ambassadors and local festivals and events.
Also, dining and restaurants that are destinations in and of themselves continue to be a major hook for travel. And as a destination with few chain restaurants and an abundance of nearby agriculture and sea life, we are truly able, as a progressive CVB, to utilize “local” in our marketing efforts.
In light of all of the research, my main takeaway is that our destination is set up for continued success for years to come thanks to the efforts made to create a community that is rich in experiences, dining and accommodations. These findings and more will be considered as my team develops new ways to reach potential visitors.
As the travel industry continues to evolve, it is important that we all remain on the pulse as even a seemingly small shift in trends can greatly affect our entire community. But for now, I look ahead optimistically and feeling prepared for many more years of success.
Elliott Falcione is the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and can be reached at Elliott.Falcione@BACVB.com or 941-729-9177, ext. 3940.