Both first-time visitors, as well as travelers who have a long history of visiting a singular destination, take tours on their vacations. However, first-time visitors are slightly more likely to experience a destination through a guided tour, as they are a solid way for travelers to become acquainted with a new destination. More than half (53%) of first-time visitors took a guided tour, versus just 45% of repeat visitors.
First-time visitors are more likely to participate in tours of famous historic or cultural sites than travelers who have already visited the destination, and who have possibly already seen such popular attractions. Previous visitors to a destination are more likely to take a culinary tour as a way to re-engage and more deeply experience a location they are familiar with.
This doesn’t mean that all first-time visitors to a destination want to take a traditional sightseeing tour, however. They are more likely to have an experience with a local, too—such as a tour of speakeasy bars than a repeat visitor to the area.
Operator Takeaway: Know Your Customer
Returning and first-time visitors to a destination have different expectations. Operators should consider inquiring about their incoming tour guests at some point during or after the booking is made to get a better understanding of the type of customer they are catering to. Operators of traditional sightseeing tours can provide first-time visitors a lay-of-the-land, so to speak, and can help travelers cross off “must-see” attractions. Plus, traditional sightseeing operators can also help first-time visitors take advantage of a destination by showing them all it has to offer and potentially encouraging such travelers to visit a second time.
Operators of more unique, experiential tours should expect both first-time and repeat visitors as customers. Regardless, both types of travelers are interested in seeing a more nuanced, locals-eye-view of a destination.
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