Protagonists, not tourists

We are seeing a distinct culture shift in the way OutThere travellers are exploring the world. At first, they wanted to cease being tourists to become travellers. No longer just content with being travellers they’re now seeking to be protagonists.

Much like OutThere travellers wanting to see themselves in luxury travel marketing and are looking for greater personalisation, these travel neo-opinion leaders and re-imagineers are demanding products and services that put them front and centre of the storytelling. They are all now part of a very well-established and developed experience economy, it is in everything and is everywhere, so they expect narratives when they travel, not just itineraries.

Moreover, stories help people contextualise their place in the world. But especially during the pandemic, they relied on stories to escape and now they can get back out into the world again, they crave it as they travel. And this isn’t really a new thing: the Insta- and TikTok-fication of travel existed even before the pandemic… but is now further exaggerated post-pandemic, there is a heightened belief that they are all, in some way, ‘micro-influencers.’ Thus, the ‘storification’ of travel has become important.

Travel brands can capitalise on this, particularly in how they communicate with travellers, but also in the way they present their products. We have seen keen interest among OutThere travellers in providers who ‘storify’ or ‘game-ify’ the guest experience… from deeply interactive websites and apps, to themed luxury train journeys, futuristic polar camps, to experiential money-can’t-buy adventures, to educational expeditions, to something as simple as ‘floating breakfasts’ at resorts. We have also seen travel providers scramble to reposition themselves: many luxury hotels are now lifestyle hotels, city properties are urban resorts, and cruises are expeditions, all working hard to develop a story for their guests.

At OutThere we have always believed in inspiration over information. During the pandemic, we had to lean into the latter for obvious reasons, to help our travellers navigate restrictions and access. But now things are far less constrained, we are back in the business of inspiration and storytelling. Our travel content is far less about lists of things to do and see; and much more about how it feels to be at the centre of a story.

“At Black Tomato, we are seeing more travellers embracing characters and narratives as they explore the world… immersing themselves in sprawling imaginative worlds, be they plucked from the silver screen or the pages of their favourite novel – escapist, playful, page-turning. During Covid, stories helped us escape, but now that we can escape for real, we’ve seen a 30% increase in interest in these narrativized approaches to the world, blending fact and fiction, this is travel with all the drama and intrigue of the world’s most enduring movies, novels, myths and legends.”
Black Tomato

Photography by Martin Perry on location in Gleneagles, Scotland for OutThere’s Spellbinding Scotland Issue

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