Luxury Island Hopping Tour!

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Luxury Island Hopping Tour!

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Fiji
1. Posted by Fijitour (First Time Poster 1 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

Hi travel enthousiasts!
We are a group of Belgian tourism students. For one of our courses, we have to compile a new trip for a specific target group. Furthermore, it should be better than the competition. Our concept is an island hopping trip to Fiji for a group of middle-aged travelers. We now have to test the concept and see if people are interested.
In other words: we're looking for your feedback. It would really help us enormously!

The concept
Target audience
People who travel as luxury, but also focus on cultural activities.
Demography
- Age: middle age
- Location: Western Europe (Belgium)
- Income level: high and middle class
- Education: Higher educated
Psychography
- Personality: open minded
- Attitudes / behavior: Steps from comfort zone, need for social contact, ...
- Interests / hobbies: discovery (culture, nature, meeting people, ...)
- Lifestyle: comfortable

The journey
+/- 15 days; 3-4 islands
Group of max 10 travelers
Local tour guide
Accommodation: Regular hotels but still luxurious
Transport: between islands by boat and seaplane
Activities: cultural but also relaxing and more luxurious

Would this trip intrest you? Do you see anything that we could improve? Let us know what you think!

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1477 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

I don't know how much this site fits your needs, since the main focus here is on independent travel rather than organised tours.

I fit your profile. 47, middle class, western Europe, etc etc. It wouldn't appeal to me. Too much jetlag for a two week trip, I'd be looking for something more multi-centre (3 or 4 different islands isn't all that different), for example on my last "Pacific" trip I visited Sydney, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tasmania, Adelaide over 4 or 5 weeks. Also, "cultural but also relaxing and more luxurious" sounds boring as hell - sounds like lying on a sun lounger with a dance show in the evening. Meh. You could do that a lot cheaper and a lot closer to home without the jetlag, so a trip out there has to have something more exciting - say half-day guided treks, waterfall-fed natural pools to swim in, snorkelling.

I think Fiji is sold more as a beach package rather than a tour, for honeymooners or Aussies and Kiwis taking a sunshine holiday that's not too long a flight. I don't see how you could successfully sell such a long-haul flight to somewhere that's "just" known as a beach paradise. For beach lovers, from Europe you would be competing against the Maldives, Seychelles, or Caribbean which offer much the same thing for half the journey and a fraction of the flight cost.

And for non-beach-lovers, ie your target group for touring, you need to build more interest. Touring to me means ten days touring Sri Lanka's interior with a few beach days at the end, with an elephant orphanage visit and a sunrise hike in a national park and a guided botany hike, Buddhist temples and night markets etc.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Oct-2018, at 01:37 by AndyF ]

3. Posted by Kathrin_E (Travel Guru 392 posts) 25w 1 Star this if you like it!

Question: We are getting more and more students here who expect us to do their schoolwork for them. Does TP allow this? I know that other forums have a rather strict approach in that respect.

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1477 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Kathrin_E

Question: We are getting more and more students here who expect us to do their schoolwork for them. Does TP allow this? I know that other forums have a rather strict approach in that respect.

Currently the Forum Rules allow surveys in the form of questions in the forum; it is links to external surveys which are forbidden.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Oct-2018, at 02:18 by AndyF ]

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5346 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

What these students do right (unlike the Albania examples from last week, which I suspect were from a group from the same school) is clearly identifying themselves as such; everyone answering the question knows that we're talking about a hypothetical trip here. I still wish the teacher would've reached out to us before the course started, to help set up some guidelines on how best to ask for advice - but eh, you can't have everything.

To the original poster: I agree completely with what Andy wrote. I'm also an independent traveller, so wouldn't be interested in this trip at all. However, combining aspects from some of my friends and family into a hypothetical person who would fit your target audience, and putting a lot of myself in there as well, some feedback:
- just because your target audience has a lot of disposable income, doesn't mean that they'll also be willing to spend it; you need to clearly identify what will make this trip worthwhile over all the many other travel options they have
- small group size is a strong benefit there
- however, by necessity that also means that the trip will be relatively expensive, as your profit margin needs to come from fewer travellers. Added to the costs to get to Fiji in the first place, is this still economically feasible?
- the pace of travelling sounds right to me; give a sufficient amount of time on each island before moving on to the next
- does the local tour guide understand the needs of the travellers, given the different cultural background? (Think of helping explain dietary needs to local restaurants.) This'll be a worry for them!
- how "luxurious" hotels are might be much less important than how unique they are / how much charm they have. Once basic standards of comfort and cleanliness have been met, it's all about the experience.
- is this targeted to middle age travellers without children?
- If I hear "cultural activities", I think "fake mass market tourist show" and lose interest. How do you provide authenticity? A visit to a local run cultural center with academic goals might be more interesting than a show for entertainment purposes.
- Thinking more in that direction, and combining what Andy said, I could see an extended version of the trip become quite interesting if you really focus on cultural / historic aspects and differences between a range of Pacific island nations (say also Tonga and maybe Tahiti (obviously you'd need to figure out if travel between such choices is feasible, and if they actually have worthwhile and explainable differences)). That would make it unique; "During the day you participate in workshops and learn firsthand how ancient Melanesians and Polynesians have shaped these cultures in different ways, while in the evening you can enjoy lounging in your beach front bungalow!" (So really go all out to challenge the preconceived notions of these places as nothing but beach holiday locations - while still luring people in with the benefits thereof.)

6. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1477 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Sander

- If I hear "cultural activities", I think "fake mass market tourist show" and lose interest

I've sworn never to go to another "cultural dance show" in my life. :)

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Oct-2018, at 05:51 by AndyF ]

7. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 883 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

I too am in your target market (although probably at the upper end of your age group!). I'm from the UK, have an income that allows me to travel quite a lot (for which I am always thankful!) and like a mix of culture and nature. I do take group tours from time to time - always small groups such as the one you suggest. But if I wanted a relaxing holiday, I wouldn't go with a group (too many constraints around being places at a certain time, following an itinerary, and no need for guiding if you're not sightseeing much) - I'd just book an island-hopping beach holiday :)

But I rarely take relaxing holidays (I don't do beaches, and swimming pools are for going in, not lying next to while slowly frying!) So if I do go with a group it's usually when that is the only or best way to visit a region (for instance we will take a group tour to N Korea next year) and/or is in a place where I feel having a guide would be a real bonus.

So I feel as others have said that you need to make this more a cultural tour, and by culture I don't mean the organised dance shows mentioned above! I'd want a tour to really show me a country - visit its historical sights, go to local markets, get to some off the beaten path locations that are hard to visit independently, maybe have a cooking class or some sort of local craft. I also like a tour when on some days nothing is pre-organised so group members can do their own thing - some might want a break from sightseeing and have a relaxing day, others may want to pack in a few more sights. It gives people more options and some flexibility, and also allows time away from the group, which even in a congenial group can be welcome.

8. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 693 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

You only mentioned Fiji so I don't know what other islands you intend to included in this itinerary but you might be surprised that connections between Pacific islands are not as easy and abundant as those between Caribbean Islands. Seaplanes are usually only for connecting to resorts on private islands and there aren't really any ferry services. The big islands you could charter a boat but for smaller islands the options are slimmer (I wouldn't count on luxury that's for sure) and not always reliable.

If I were you I would look up Aranui. They are a cruise in French Polynesia but otherwise they are a working version of your concept and they do it very well (no fake cultural activities at least) Might be worth looking into how they got it right.