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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Schoolies research provides insight into emerging trends

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Coinciding with the onset of the traditional schoolies Q1 booking season, schoolies travel specialist Unleashed Travel has released the findings of research it describes as a timely insight into the trends now governing the burgeoning sector - and it's revealing.

According to Unleashed Travel CEO, Jot Lynas the research reveals today's 'schoolie' is far removed from its counterpart of yesteryear.

Mr Lynas, who has organised more than 10,000 schoolies trips since founding Unleased Travel in 2006, said there has been a definite shift in his client base.

"From 2012 until the present time, sales of Unleashed Travel packages to Fiji, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vanuatu have grown by 30 per cent – and it's a trend we expect to grow in 2015 and beyond," he said.

"Long gone are the days when graduating students considered a week-long, booze-filled party at the Gold Coast to be the ultimate schoolies getaway.

"The times are definitely changing, students have become more discerning and today expect a range of experiences – far beyond alcohol – from their end-of-school celebrations.

"In 2013 we saw a huge drop in bar spend and a big increase in day-activity spend. These days it's not alcohol first – its activities and parties and a higher level of interest in cultural experiences.

"It's also interesting to note that our alcohol-free and volunteering packages have become bestsellers among our client base."

Mr Lynas said the company had conducted significant research among students and the industry to gauge exactly what's in demand and design product accordingly.

While the research shed light on a large number of factors governing the schoolies likes, dislikes and overall booking patterns, seven key factors and emerging trends, he said, stood head and shoulders above the rest.

These are:

1.  Activities will trump alcohol

Schoolies trips are evolving into higher-quality experiences. An increasing number of students prefer less of a focus on alcohol and more on recreational and meaningful activities such as water sports, cruises, and volunteer work to help local cultures.

2. Off the beaten track

Students are increasingly interested in getting out of their comfort zones and venturing further afield to experience different destinations.

3. Luxury experiences

There is an increasing interest in luxury packages offering pampering and better-quality accommodation.

4. Immersion in local cultures

Students today are increasingly seeking travel packages where they can soak up the local culture, learn something new, and develop personally.

5. Safety first

While it's no secret that parents prefer a supervised schoolies trip, teens, too, are seeking supervision on their getaway. Students today really understand the value that supervision provides, allowing them to have the time of their life and feel safe at the same time. Services such as the Red Frogs volunteer network supports school-leavers at various schoolies locations by walking them home, offering emotional support, and offering snacks.

6.  Schoolies reunions

Young adults have wanted to re-live their schoolies trips during Schoolies Week for many years now. Having asked if they'd be interested in a 'reunion' trip, we've received a huge positive response. Various packages for students who are up to three years out of school are already in plan.

7. Something for the boys

With schoolies packages becoming more and more tailored, we are also looking at 'Coming of age' trips wrapped around team adventure activities. Not only do they engender mutual respect, responsibility and mature behaviour, they also instil strong personal qualities among the schoolies so they return home well-rounded young men, better prepared to face the daily challenges of life after school."

About Unleashed Travel
Unleashed Travel, Australia's leading travel provider of overseas school-leaver experiences for ages 17-18 years, offers alcohol-free, volunteering and luxury holidays in Thailand, Cambodia, Fiji and Vanuatu. Each school-leaver experience is supervised by the Unleashed Travel Crew with a staff to student ratio of 1:7 inclusive of security and The Red Frogs – an organisation dedicated to empowering young people to make positive life choices. Supervising staff are available on call 24/7 and are certified at highest levels of First Aid. Since Unleashed Travel was founded in 2006 by entrepreneurs Jot Lynas and Steve Pirie, 10,000 holiday packages have been sold via retail travel agents and direct to the public. Visit www.unleashedschoolies.com.au

 

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