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4th July 2013 Sara Lock

How to segment cultural tourists


Discover various ways that you can segment cultural tourists and explore motivational trends in cultural tourism in this handy factsheet from Audiences London.

Visit Britain Segments

Cultural visitors can be classified into the following categories:

  • The purposeful cultural tourist /culture vulture - cultural tourism is the primary motive for visiting a destination and the tourist has a deep cultural experience
  • The sightseeing cultural tourist - cultural tourism is a primary reason for experiencing a destination, but the experience is less deep
  • The serendipitous cultural tourist - a tourist, who does not travel for cultural reasons but who, after participating, ends up having a deep cultural experience
  • The casual cultural tourist - cultural tourism is a weak motive for travel and the resulting experience is shallow
  • The incidental cultural tourist - the tourist does not travel for cultural reasons, but nonetheless participates in some activities and has shallow experiences

Motivational trends: this resource also identifies some motivational trends in cultural tourism such as authenticity and uniqueness, cultural immersion and experiential holidays, amongst others.

Authenticity and uniqueness

  • In consumers' continued search for meaning in their lives, the trend for authenticity has been identified to refer to the search for something real, original or authentic. This can be in a product, a service or an experience, as well as looking for a sense of it within themselves. This is now applying to a cross section of society and is likely to increase among the population of developed markets as accessibility to knowledge and information continues.
  • Many destinations already market their cultural tourism on the theme of authenticity, for example New Zealand ran a '100% Pure' campaign, utilising its Maori heritage.
  • A key consideration is that for the experience to feel authentic it also has to avoid high tourist density, so it is important that consumers are offered enough choice away from the mainstream activities and experiences to avoid these quickly becoming tourist hotspots in themselves.
  • Research into the emerging markets shows that a desire for 'immersion into the culture of the country they are visiting' is a key differentiator of those that are most likely to visit Britain in these markets versus those who are not.
  • The sorts of authentic experiences are things like visiting a country pub and meeting real British people, learning a new skill such as learning how to build a stone wall or cook British food. Other experiences could be putting a stately home to bed, going to a football match, or going to Wimbledon and eating strawberries and ice-cream.

Experiential holidays

  • In the future, people will have more and more diverse interests, and travel will develop to be more about the experience and participation. It will be the immersion and passion that counts above the destination itself. This is about having a desire not just to have things or buy things but to experience them.
  • VisitBritain's research in Japan (2008) demonstrates this growing trend among travellers towards independent and experiential holidays rather than the 'trophy tour'. The signalling of status has become more subtle and involves experiences and events not just ticking off famous cities and landmarks.
  • They want to get involved in the site - live and breathe it. Therefore propositions from Britain marketers that offer good value experiential or self-enrichment products are likely to win good business from consumers.
  • Evidence is building for the existence of multiple markets for special interest/niche travel eg lifestyle holidays. These go hand in hand with global trends towards self-improvement and experiential travel. These groups have a strong educational focus relating to special interest areas of art, history, architecture, gardening, walking, theatre or music. The tour participants are generally people in their fifties and over. They are leisure travellers who are seeking new experiences, learning with like-minded people and personal fulfilment through experiential travel.

Download the guide to read more:
How to segment cultural tourists (PDF)

| Published:2013

Smart tags: visitors tourists strategy segmentation cultural tourism audience development

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