More Attractions Visitors Looking For Guided Experiences in 2023

New Arival research shows a significant shift in traveler preferences post-Covid towards guided experiences. Here’s how attractions can adapt to this latest shift.

Reading Time: 2 minutes 37 seconds

After two years of severely restricted travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travelers’ attractions preferences have shifted dramatically.

Released in late December 2022 and conducted in partnership with Phocuswright, Arival’s latest report The Global Attractions Traveler compiled and analyzed survey responses from more than 4,000 travelers across Europe and the U.S. The report unveils how travelers choose and book visitor attractions, how these trends have shifted since the pandemic, and what this means for attraction operators and marketers in 2023.

One of the things this study found is travelers have been preferring — and paying more for — guided, small-group and private tours and experiences. While attractions typically rely more on tickets than tours, there are a few ways attractions can adapt to draw in travelers seeking guided experiences:

1.  Offer Guided Tours or Unique Experiences as Part of Your Attraction

Overall, iconic visitor and natural attractions, long the leading driver of tourism visitation, took a back seat to guided tours and experiences for both U.S. and European travelers. However, sightseeing remains the most popular type of tour and has gained ground since pre-pandemic times, as the figure below shows.

This suggests that travelers are not just buying an entry ticket: they want to make the most of their visit with a tour or guide. One way attractions can adapt to this is to find ways to offer more guided tours or unique experiences as part of their attraction offerings.


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2.  Build Reseller Partnerships with Local Tour Operators

Most travelers purchase tickets to cultural attractions and museums directly as stand-alone tickets. However, a significant percentage of travelers — especially from the U.S. — accessed such attractions via a tour in 2022.

Nearly half of U.S. and one in three European travelers visited a cultural attraction or museum via a tour in 2022, as the below figure shows.

In order to make the most of this shift in traveler preferences, attractions should consider expanding their reseller partnerships with local tour operators.

3.  Invest in Self-Guided Technology

Another thing the study showed is a rise in self-guided tours. More and more attraction visitors are using self guided tours via their mobile phones, and not only that but they are willing to pay for them.

One in four European and 31% of U.S. travelers purchased a self-guided mobile audio tour for an attraction visit in 2022.

As this data suggests, the right investments in self-guided experiences could be a meaningful ancillary revenue opportunity for attractions.

Learn More About Attractions Visitor Trends, Preferences and Booking Behavior

Understand the latest trends in how travelers choose and book attractions in the Global Attractions Traveler. Or dig into Arival’s 2023 Experiences Traveler report to understand the latest traveler trends across the tours, activities and attractions sector as a whole.

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