Adventure travel has been on the rise for years, and savvy outdoor retailers are cashing in on the trend, partnering with tour operators and guide services to make money and build loyalty through off-the-beaten path excursions for their customers.

Read on to discover 3 top ways that outdoor retailers are benefiting from adventure travel:

The Quest for Experiences Drives Customers to Buy Gear

The Clymb, an online retailer that offers member pricing on the planet’s most sought-after outdoor brands, started offering adventure travel trips back in 2012. Since then, it’s seen revenue in that segment double each year.

“We believe it’s an experience economy. People want to collect moments, not things.”

Source: Luis Vargas, chief brand officer and president of travel for The Clymb, via SNEWS

The Clymb curates adventure travel from a variety of tour operators, getting a commission on trips it sells. The great thing is, the people who sign up for these trips naturally turn to the retailer’s shop for gear as well, and they’re spending surpasses what they would normally purchase without such a big event.

“When people buy a trip, they are ready to disproportionally spend to have the gear for that trip.” 

Source: Luis Vargas, chief brand officer and president of travel for The Clymb, via SNEWS

Houston-area bicycle store chain, The Bike Barn, has found that referring customers to trips operated by cycling vacation company, Trek Travel, has boosted her floor sales, as well. The retailer invites Trek Travel representatives to come speak locally, along with having the sales staff talk up their trips.

Not only does Trek Travel give trip-goers a checklist of items to bring (gear they’ll need for the trip), but they give each customer a coupon for a new bike they can redeem at their local dealer. Trip-goers get relevant marketing messages before and after the trip, helping both companies make more sales.

Trip Giveaways Increase Customer Base

According to Chris “Chez” Chesak, a travel and outdoor industry consultant, many retailers are using trip giveaways to increase their customer base.

Chesak has worked on trip giveaways that bring in 20,000 to 90,000 leads from people who enter for a chance to win. But the key to drawing in these kinds of numbers depends on having tour partners that are dedicated to promoting the retailer’s sweepstakes.

The benefits of giveaways go way beyond acquiring new customers, engaging existing customers, and building brand awareness. They help retailers gather consumer data such as email addresses and demographics, as well as establishing the groundwork for building relationships with the shop’s customer base.

“For retailers, the upside is a fresh list of new customers to market to, a new story to tell in their marketing and potential longer-term partnerships with tour operators that could provide white-label trips or in-store seminars.”

Source: Chris “Chez” Chesak via SNEWS

Trips Build Customer Relationships & Sense of Community

As the Outdoor Industry Association points out, the increase in partnerships between independent retailers and tour partners/guide services is a natural evolution for retailers as an outgrowth of their relationships with customers and reputation as a local information hub.

“As smaller retailers do more community outreach and create partnerships with guide services, it can create a lucrative feedback loop where customers then buy gear.”

Source: Todd Walton, marketing and communications manager with the Outdoor Industry Association, via SNEWS

Walton goes on to say, “When a retailer can be that resource, they’re going to have a long-term customer.”

Retailers can also offer “soft adventure” trips such as local day hikes, paddle boarding, climbing, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing adventures. While local trips may or may not be big money makers, they’re an invaluable way of encouraging locals to come together and play, as well as fostering a sense of community and camaraderie for new and existing customers.

 “What we like about doing [local trips] is [that] it makes us more well-rounded. It’s kind of fun to have it. It’s not just a profit motive.”

Source: Rob Mardock, owner of Estes Park Mountain Shop, via SNEWS

Conclusion

By offering adventure travel trips, outdoor retailers have the opportunity to generate more in-store revenue, while building physical communities of like-minded, loyal customers.

These communities rely on the retailer as a local information hub, giving them a reason to return often, participate in meaningful experiences, and share these experiences with friends and family.

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About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and the eBook The Small retailer's Ultimate Guide to Increasing In-Store Sales. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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