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Disclosure & Image Rights: The French National Tourist Board has covered the cost of flights and accommodation on various research trips. Image material was created with a camera provided free of charge by our sponsor Olympus, which we checked as part of the test until it was unusable. Tour operator Siglinde Fischer took over the costs for various accommodations on a research trip to France. 

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Professional profile of travel guides for literary tourists: Art and culture on the rise

Travel and education are in the trend. What could be better than combining both to a business idea or a profession? This also works in your region. Or online.

Tourists in Rome

Travel as a Statussymbol

There are reasons why people stay important, even if they might have to save otherwise: it is simply part of lifestyle. While people used to measure their status and possessions and horsepower in “my house, my car, my boat” style, they have bragged about the frequency of their vacations and the exoticism of their destination for several years.

There are then two types of tourists: For the classic tourist, the travel destination is almost interchangeable, it is about gaining status ("We were in New Zealand - and you?"), Changing the wallpaper, the good weather guarantee and the price-performance ratio. For tourismCompany However, such customers are unpredictable.

So it fits well that a new target group is on the rise, which is one of the most attractive, because most financially strong target groups for tourism professionals. And they are also increasingly interested in culture and active holidays.

Target audience 50 + on the rise

The World Travel Monitor® by IPK International is carried out annually on behalf of ITB Berlin in 60 countries of origin of Europe, Arabia, America and Asia. As the largest and only tourism study in the world, it examines the international travel volume and travel behavior in these markets.

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Travel behavior refers to the choice of destination, travel reason, holiday segments / motifs, type of business trip, travel duration, means of transport, accommodation, season, information and booking behavior, expenses, regional focus markets, target group profiles, etc.

Best Ager in Europe: In 5 Years 78 Million Travel

The study will be conducted around 400.000 interviews. And they show: Overall, this age group accounts for more than a quarter (27 percent) of all stays abroad. That's equivalent to around 78 millions of vacation trips.

As far as holiday forms are concerned, the Best Ager is constantly moving away from the stereotype of the classic retirement journey. Although the beach holiday in Europe is still the most booked holiday form with a market share of 28 per cent and is even more popular, there are different preferences depending on the country.

Europe: Towns in coming

In addition, the city breaks (market share 16 percent) increased powerfully. In this segment, the volume of the 55plus generation increased by 3,0 million (plus 32 percent), followed by the cruise with an increase of 2,4 million travel (plus 45 percent) and round trips with 2,1 million (plus15 percent).

But the best-agers want to do something for their health during their holidays and stay active in health: Sport-oriented and health-oriented holidays also showed a slight growth throughout Europe.

Where do the travelers come from?

The main markets of origin of Best Ager UK with 16,1 million and Germany with 15,3 million vacation travel. While foreign travel in the British market has increased by 28 percent, the trips of the 50 + generation are stagnating on the German market.

In third and fourth place are France with 7,2 million travel and the Netherlands with 6,9 million. These four countries alone cover nearly 60 percent of travelers in the age group beyond 55 years.

Germany vs. Germany United Kingdom: Beach vacation out or not?

Other countries, other holiday preferences. According to the World Travel Monitor ®, the interest of the German Best Ager on beach holidays has dropped sharply (minus 18 percent). Nevertheless, with 25 percent market share, this form of travel is still the most popular. Winners are market share smaller segments such as health-oriented holidays with 0,7 million travel (plus 61 percent), cruises with 0,9 million travel (plus 64 percent), sports travel with one million travel (plus 53 percent) and city travel with two million travel (plus 30 percent) ,

In the UK, the beach holiday continues to be the most popular holiday form. While in the French the round trip has roughly the same importance as beach holiday. The Best Ager in the Netherlands still prefer to go abroad in the country, but the biggest increases are in city holidays and beach holidays.

Travel as an individual experience

In addition, there is always a new type of tourist: one of those who is on a journey, especially in search of an individual, unforgettable experience. 25 to 40 percent of the vacationers will look in the next ten to 20 years insistently the Internet for new experiences.

And they will be happy to book their holidays in the communities where they are staying. Vacation is becoming more of a travel destination for this target group as in the 19. Century: a curious and adventurous development of the world. Traveling for these people will be the paradigm for the fulfillment of the wishes for change and departure.

Horizon-expanding with literature

Therefore, traveling, where participants can broaden their knowledge and personal horizons, is very much in vogue. A good example is travel and guided tours to the locations of literary works. In Germany, for example, the regional crime novels are booming - starting with Ingrid Noell to Jaques Berndorf, whose crime thrillers have already received 75.000 pre-orders.

Such popular works are a perfect example for tourism tours: similarities with places and personalities are permitted, after all, the authors live on the spot, so they often do not have to do much research. And you can also benefit from this as a travel guide. For the regional criminal genre is beginning to boost local tourism.

Culture tripp as a customer magnet, with the example Provence

Customer acquisition with the Kultur-Tripp works well not only in Germany, but also abroad. For example, in Provence, where I recently had the privilege of taking a close look at the tourism industry at the invitation of the French Tourist Board ATOUT FRANCE and the tour operator Siglinde Fischer.

In Provence, the culture beats only so: Starting from Marseille, which dates back to a Greek foundation and 2013 Europe's cultural capital of Avignon, where in the 19. For almost 70 of years the popes resided and still dominate the region today, to various artists and writers who discovered the region as a habitat and source of inspiration:

From Marqise de Sade to Picasso

The notorious Marquis de Sade organized the first theater festival in France in 1772 in his Château de Mazan in the Vaucluse. Today the former de Sade castle is a four-star hotel. In 1844, the writer Alexandre Dumas settled the plot of his novel "The Count of Monte Christo" at the Château d'If off the coast of Marseille - making it world famous.

One hundred years later Pablo Picasso bought a house in Ménerbes in Luberon Nature Park and gave it to his muse and lover Dora Maar - before he left her for a twenty-one-year-old. The painter and photographer died there 1997. Today, artists and writers from all over the world can spend a few months there as part of the Brown Foundation Fellows Program.

Peter Mayle: A love of hate

And where we just got it from regional thrillers: Ménerbes, which belongs to the “Most Beautiful Villages in France” label, was immortalized in literature: the Englishman Peter Mayle described the peculiarities of the place and its inhabitants so well in his books that he found himself there made unpopular until today.

Piquely, however, it is precisely his books, which helped the community to become world-famous and thus to an enormous economic boom.

The trend is towards regional limi- tation

The special topic with which you can delight your customers is now available free of charge in many places - from the book market, for example, such as the Chateua d'If near Marseille, the setting for Alexandre Duma's classic “The Count of Monte Christo”.

Because there is currently an unpredictable trend: Regional crime. Local politicians, social studies teachers and housewives grab the nasal spring and shift the crime into the familiar. Idyll and horror are not contradictions, because as a rule the dramaturgy at the end restores order in the regional microcosm.

And while the average circulation of a paperback is around 3000 copies, the regional crime stories always produce new circulation records. Example: Andrea Maria Schenkel's "Tannöd" is about incest and murder, Wolfgang Schreiber's "The highest price" reveals a story of abuse, in Lucille Clauss' "end of the month" the dignitaries of a small town in Upper Palatinate are involved in a prostitute murder.

Similarities are not coincidental

Similarities are allowed; after all, the authors live on site, so they often do not have to do much research. And this is exactly how you can benefit as a travel guide: the regional criminal genre starts to stimulate local tourism.

Have a look at your literary material in your surroundings: because many cases are so sculptural, because the places are so interesting, you can offer excellent guided tours to caves or to the tribes' committees for this type of literature.

Cooperation possible

You can also collaborate quite specifically with the author of a work: the author already writes the novel with the idea of ​​later leadership by selecting certain, touristically attractive locations. They, in turn, conduct guided tours with an intelligent concept and market the book.

Of course, this is also possible abroad - assuming appropriate local knowledge. You can organize the tours on behalf of larger travel companies, which has the advantage of less investment in advertising. Or you start to get people excited about your idea through regional networks and then gradually build a customer base.

This is what the work looks like

If you are looking after a group during the entire trip, you will be able to carry out organizational tasks such as room distribution in the hotel, exchange of money or the procurement of transport equipment. They also organize excursions. They act as contact persons for the travelers and accept, for example, complaints and suggestions.

Your job is to make the journey as pleasant as possible for the traveler. Of course, they also assume the duties of a city guide and inform the travelers about the history, traditions and peculiarities of the place, the region or the country.

Local contact

However, it is also possible that you are only looking for travelers at the destination. Then you are available as a contact person and, for example, arrange excursions or carry them through. Tour guides are often confronted with unforeseen situations, such as when travel agents fall ill or means of transport fail.

They react quickly and flexibly to the respective circumstances, take care of the participants or procure replacements for a failed bus.

Prerequisites, education and training

In order to be able to pursue this activity, education in the field of tourism or cultural studies is usually required. However, the name is not legally protected, so you can start working as a travel guide immediately.

In practice, in addition to the ability to deal with difficult people and larger travel groups also organizational skills, a good general education and excellent knowledge of the target area are in demand. In addition, it is essential to speak several languages.

No paid holidays

You must be aware that the tour guide is not a paid holiday: during a trip, tour guides are used from early to late. If they accompany a tour group during the whole trip, they are available 24 hours a day as a point of contact for the travelers.

Tour guides often work in the open, for example, when they lead city tours. They are exposed to rain, wind, cold or heat as well as to physical exertion.

Opportunities for business start-ups

As a travel guide you are self-employed. This means you only need a tax number from the tax office. A commercial application is not required. A great idea are the literary walks with Google Streetview.

Even though literature tours are and will remain a niche product, interest is growing. If you specialize in certain genres, locations or a particular author and presents your journey as an unforgettable life-style experience, this does not make you rich, but it does give you some opportunities to earn a living.

Books on the topic

3 responses to “Professional profile travel guide for literary tourists: art and culture on the rise”

  1. Alma Mater says:

    RT @SimoneJanson: Trends & dream jobs in the future tourism industry

  2. Liane Wolffgang says:

    Trends & dream jobs in the future tourism industry - Part 5: Travel guides for literary tourists: Last week ...

  3. Competencepartner says:

    Trends & dream jobs in the future tourism industry - Part 5: Travel guides for literary tourists ...

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