Topdeck’s Zachary Sewell shares his tips for agencies looking to grow their offering

Often overlooked and perhaps not well understood, youth touring is a fantastic opportunity for any UK travel business. Topdeck Travel is focused solely on 18 to 39-year-olds – and as such, we are a little obsessed with ensuring we can cater to the ever-evolving customers in this age range.

In order to create a veritable smorgasbord of touring options for 18-39s, we have to understand the market (naturally). With around 18.6 million 18 to 39-year-olds in the UK looking to travel in the next two years, and around 24% of them either open to, or hoping to go on a tour, there’s the potential to score a healthy 4.46 million bookings.

So, it’s clear that there is a big opportunity. The question is, how to get a slice of the youth touring pie?

For any agency looking to kick-start or grow their youth tour offering, here is a trio of top tips…

Online presence:
It may seem obvious, but this is often a missed opportunity. Most 18-39s will begin their booking journey online and engage via a social media platform – so, in order to drive youth enquiry to your business and have customers see you as a potential booking option, it’s essential that there’s a clear and easy way to view your potential tour options online. For those unable to delve into the online world completely, some simple social media work can make all the difference.

Less is more:
This may sound a little unusual, but for anyone looking to provide a youth touring option, sometimes it’s better to focus on a few key destinations and a maximum of a couple of tours per country. More and more 18-39s are used to the instant gratification the major online retailers provide. If a potential customer is browsing your online offering and can’t find what they want easily, or things are too cluttered for them to be able to make a decision, they will go elsewhere. Plus, it always helps to have feedback and trip reviews – it installs customer confidence.

Pitch the best product:
What the 18 to 39-year-old traveller wants from their holiday can vary greatly. From first-time travellers off on a big adventure to working professionals seeking to make the most of their annual leave via a culturally rich experience, it should be recognised that, even within the world of youth touring, simply providing trips to those of a similar age is not enough. So, understanding who you may be targeting within the youth sector and pitching the right product is key.

For example, if you feel that you are best poised to go after working professionals restricted by annual leave, it’s worth knowing that destinations away from the hive of frenzied tourists are a growing trend.

And when the demand is for the holiday to be an educational trip that leaves customers feeling like they have not just learned, but experienced something new, trips like our 8 Day Jordan Adventure encapsulate this growing desire perfectly.

If you feel that you are better placed to pursue students, there’s more of a demand for social trips to multiple destinations: A BBQ and Blues trip from Chicago to New Orleans (taking in a music festival en route) would be much better suited to this customer.

This is just a small sample of the demands the 18-39 market makes of youth touring; but for those willing to execute a few key steps to see this area of their business flourish, it’s also a fantastic opportunity. After all, when a customer comes back to you with heartfelt praise for providing them with the perfect trip, it reminds you that there is a very good reason why you work in travel.