Courtesy: Excursionist

Excursionist: Where the Luxury Experiential Travels Are Found

These days, the luxury traveler’s behavior changes which ask those travel companies tailor to their clients' needs. Only companies who can adapt their customers and the industry’s challenges have the chance for success.
By Hannah Ngo | EnvZone Staff
on February 04, 2020 | 7 min read
Courtesy: Excursionist

Luxury travel is changing, so does the luxury traveler. Actually, their demand emerges so quickly that by the time you read this, they may well have changed again. Nevertheless, there is one thing beyond the individuality of their needs, it is the unique experiences that are the new material goods for a generation of travelers.

On the other hand, new markets online are attracting almost all segments of the luxury travel industry– from hotels, cruises, vacation homes, and private jets. Yet, if you are looking to have an archaeologist take you to Machu Picchu, go backstage at the ballet in St. Petersburg, or go sailing in the Aegean, finding and booking these kinds of experiences online has been virtually impossible until now.

Leveraging these two points, Excursionist has stepped into the destination management sector and made the howling success in its industry. Let’s read on to discover how Excursionist has gone through the ten-year journey to be successful as today!

How Is Excursionist Found?

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Courtesy: Excursionist

Norman Aynbinder, who managed partnerships with top luxury outfitters like Abercrombie & Kent and Micato Safaris for American Express Travel, noticed that a growing number of consumers desired to have those kinds of travel experiences such as luxury and experimental, but no longer book through traditional travel agents or tour operators.

Consequentially, he left American Express and launched Excursionist, a members-only travel site that allows members to choose from a changing menu of unique experiences around the world. In 2010, Excursionist was born by the three friends with an event that they immigrated to North America from various corners of the world. Next steps, they started developing a dedication to sharing this continent’s rich history, nature, cuisine and culture with others.

Comprehending the marketplace’s gap for a true luxury-focused destination management company for the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, Excursionist provides not only geographical breadth across the nation but also a great depth of local knowledge in each destination where they work.

It’s achieved by the abilities to carry diverse expertise in the industry, in conjunction with their personal relationships in education, government, sciences, arts, and business. Whereas the small boutique organization of travel and product managers was developing in Miami, they had established an extensive and direct network hub that included over 800 local tour guides, drivers, naturalists, scientists and other experts, and had never worked through middlemen or other destination management companies.

With the initial efforts, Excursionist found their pride to operate only business-to-business (B2B) with the finest luxury and experiential travel agencies, private travel designers, concierge companies, corporations and tour operators in the world that confide them with their clients. Again and again, American Excursionist emphasizes on delivering the highest level of customer service, expertise, safety and customization possible in the industry.

The company’s mission is to empower luxury travelers — whether a couple, family or corporate group — to live out their diverse passions through exceptional, life-changing experiences that we design and deliver. Whether it is seeing a polar bear face-to-face in Manitoba, jamming with a jazz musician in New Orleans or meeting a cutting-edge contemporary artist in Los Angeles, they seek to leave a lasting impression on clients of these exceptional destinations.

The User-Centric Design and Selected Content Establish Its Brand

Excursionist defines and presents their brand story as a contemporary, tailored service responsive to today’s travelers’ online booking behavior. 

The good establishments of information architecture, experience design, and software were supported by a development process that assisted Excursionist to bring their new business to market in a timely manner. Originally, the platform consisted of content management, booking management, and payments system, which are the foundation for ongoing iterations of the business and its online presence.

Here are some of the examples of Excursionist’s luxury website:

  • The landing page is elegant and well-structured which represents the luxury view.
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Courtesy: Excursionist
  • The extensive listing page
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Courtesy: Excursionist
  • The single location layout
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Courtesy: Excursionist
  • The location gallery
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Courtesy: Excursionist

Top 4 Factors that Make Excursionist Dominant in The Luxury Travel Niche

Have you ever wondered why Excursionist was chosen but aren’t other companies? Here are some of the reasons. Excursionist provides the highest level of service to C-level executives, celebrities and dignitaries with distinct travel needs. Confidentiality and discretion are always maintained. With privileged VIP passes, after-hours tours, and unique experiences not offered to the public, American Excursionist plans a variety of trips across the United States and the Caribbean, including Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of Canada.

#1: Excursionist offers diverse types of the trip which responses to various types of traveler

No matter what your passion is, whether it is art, food or extreme adventures, Excursionist holds you an expected vacation which is around your interest and what you’re looking for. The main categories to choose from include: the arts, food and drink, people and cultures, sports and adventure, nature, social good, and wellness.

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Courtesy: Excursionist

With the tailor-made services offered by Excursionist, travelers are facilitated to choose what they want to see and do. Initially, the trips are designed within these interests’ categories and provided good examples of what is possible for people to do. However, if there are any specific demands, clients can easily change the itinerary for their expectations.

The following image describes how Excursionist works with its clients.

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Courtesy: IMLT
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Courtesy: IMLT

More than that, the firm also gives out caters trips for businesses looking to grant their employees a weekend getaway, couples on their honeymoon, families on school break, and private journeys for people seeking something different than the average vacation.

By establishing good partnerships with over 250 deluxe and boutique accommodations, including the top luxury brands, unique lodges, ranches, luxury motorhomes and villas, Excursionist can pass their clients on the best rates.

#2: Stretching in the valuable experiences

As today, the upscale traveler expectations are deriving which implies understanding what your clients mean by luxury can be the difference between crafting a wow experience that leads to a lifetime client or a trip that doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s no longer a five-star hotel experience but a unique and immersive experience.

Before, the traditional travel businesses actively gave out the available tours as options for clients. However, experiential luxury travel is going in a different way. Not every experience is attractive to every client, so a key component of crafting immersive, upscale travel is to tease out the types of experiences that the client is seeking. 

So, why Excursionist? As comprehending the industry trends, this travel agency tailors the bespoke experience by designing adventures that are curated especially for clients led by experts and local personalities. People tend to choose them due to the expectation of traveling somewhere that will make an impact on their lives, or somewhere they can make an impact on the lives of others.

Let’s take an example of the tour of the coffee trail in the Dominican Republic involved by one of their excursions. The one-day journey created impressive experiences through different villages in the Dominican where many of the world’s coffee beans are harvested.

Additionally, the social good category not only provides travelers flawless experience for you and your client but also offers guests trips to places that will teach them something. Tour the political hotspots of Chicago and learn about both past and present politicians who are impacting America or learn about the Civil Rights movement in Washington D.C. from the perspective of a current activist. Those customized experiences are curated and led by experts and/or local personalities.

#3: The responsive services

The diverse team of travel professionals, including tour guides and drivers, speaks 15 major languages and proposals can be provided in the language of your choice. For artists and activists, for businesses and families, Excursionist can help you plan the right vacation and get behind-the-scenes access to places you may have only dreamed of going.

By responding to clients’ needs, the company is maximizing the traveling conditions create the best conditions for their customers to have the best experience trip.

#4: Diverse network of destinations is one of the strengths

Indeed, Excursionist is doing well to adapt to the digital economy to change. It’s illustrated through the good management of over 200 destinations throughout the United State, Canada, and the Caribbean- from major cities to national parks and small towns.  

Regardless of which travel type, Excursionist is available to support by their wide networking. If it’s educational travel style, they are able to leverage their special relationships with universities, professors, museums, naturalists and educators to design immersive educational experiences for families as well as adults.

It can’t deny that without those well-established relationships in each location, Excursionist probably is prevented from providing the local to their clients which are considered to be highlight services to feature the company’s brand name. 

More than that, Excursionist also partners with some travel groups and agencies such as  Signature Travel Network, Virtuoso Ultraluxe Travel, Ensemble Travel Group and etc. This is also a way to join in the industry community to enlarge and enhance the company’s brand name.  

What People Talk about Excursionist

Nothing is more trustworthy than customer testimonials which are real experiences from real persons. In order to illustrate how Excursionist has done well, here are what its clients assessed about this company.

“ The Excursionist team went to amazing lengths to fulfill the needs of our client. Their recommendations for a variety of luxury experiences and a strong network of resources made it possible for my clients to have exclusive and one-of-a-kind experiences. We could sense that the team wanted to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients as much as we did.”

Lim Hui-Juan, Quotient Travel Singapore

“ American Excursionist was able to arrange amazing access to Spanish- speaking winemakers for some of our most important clients for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in California wine country.”

Bruny Correal, Martinz Aviatur Travel Colombia

“ America Excursionist and Abercrombie & Kent have a fantastic long-standing relationship. We have many VIP guests and ultra-high net worth individuals and we always entrust AE with looking after them. We know from the minute that AE receives our request it will be looked at with the highest priority and with our guest in mind. The turnaround time is amazing and the little insider access touches they provide something that our clients value extremely highly. AE has extremely good knowledge of the hotels and sightseeing options and always very pro-active in inputting their own opinion into what we can do to go above and beyond to make the trip perfect. I cannot rate them highly enough to look after all your client’s needs.”

Paul Taylor, Abercrombie & Kent LTD.

The Bottom Lines

Overall, although Excursionist is not the lead in the experiential luxury segment, it is considered to be a heavy competitor in its industry due to the diverse offers, bespoke experience, responsive services, and the company’s wide networking. That’s how Excursionist has driven itself to be in the travel niche through the ten years journey.

Last but not least, according to a study by AMADEUS, luxury travel will grow by 6.2% over the next five years, compared to general travel growth of 4.8%. As the statistic illustration, the opportunities for this sector are sharpening which also means it would appeal to more new entrants and competitors. Hence, while catching up to grow as what Excursionist has done, giving your eyes to potential competitors also is important.

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